Columbia High girls reach end of the road

Columbia High junior Aidan Liddiard breaks the Kalama press with the dribble during the first half of last Thursday’s Southwest District 1A loser-out game at W.F. West High School in Chehalis. The Bruins put up a good fight against this year’s Trico co-champions but too many turnovers and not enough shots ultimately led to a 58-29 defeat.

The third time was not at all charming for Columbia High’s girls basketball team in its Southwest District 1A game last Thursday against Trico League co-champion Kalama.

Columbia fell behind 10-0 and didn’t score its first basket until junior forward Morgan Vasquez hit a 15-foot baseline jumper at the 4:06 mark of the first quarter, off a pass from senior point guard Savanah Story.

In the final issue, the Bruins committed too many turnovers and did not get off enough shots to stay with the Chinooks, who pulled away in the second quarter on the way to a 58-29 victory that ended CHS’s season.

“Kalama has more firepower and is much bigger,” Bruins Coach Howard Kreps said, “but we played hard, fought hard, and never quit.”

With just under three minutes left in the first quarter, CHS got within 10-5 on a pull-up shot by Story, and within 12-7 with 1:49 to go, with two free throws by junior forward Lauren Thiesies. The closest Columbia came the rest of the way was at 15-9 on a putback by Story.

Story sparked the Bruins in the opening eight minutes by scoring five points. How-ever, she managed just one point the rest of the way.

Early in the second stanza, the Chinooks pushed their lead into double figures for the first time, though the Bruins checked them twice with buckets by Vasquez (20-11) and Thiesies (21-13) off an assist from junior guard Michaela Enyart.

Kalama responded with an 11-3 run that closed out the first half and left CHS trailing 32-16.

Columbia cut Kalama’s lead to 16 points on two occasions in the third quarter with a putback by junior center Claire Anderson (34-18) and a 3-point basket by junior guard Kayla McClain (38-22). Again, the Chinooks met the challenges with an 11-1 closing run that made their lead 49-23.

Anderson, CHS’s leading scorer, was shut out in the first half as Kalama covered her well in the post. She finished with six points and shared team scoring honors with Story and Vasquez.

Inside the numbers, Kalama outscored Columbia 13-6 from the foul line (with 14 more attempts, 25-11) and 9-3 from the 3-point line, for a 13-point advantage.

Moreover, the Chinooks out-rebounded the Bruins 38-27, unofficially, and capitalized on many of the 32 turn-overs CHS made in 32 minutes of basketball.

Two nights earlier, Columbia kept its bid for a regional-round berth alive with a 34-33 loser-out win over Eatonville.

CHS trailed 9-5 after one quarter but got things going in the second and took a 17-10 lead into the intermission. The score through three quarters stood at 24-19, CHS.

Eatonville rallied in the final frame but couldn’t gain an advantage.

“It was a game of runs between teams that don’t have great shooters,” Kreps said, and added, “Our bench players probably won this for us.”

He cited the play of junior forward Aidan Liddiard, who “played a great game” and provided four points, four rebounds, and three steals.

Enyart also earned the coach’s praise. She scored 3-pointers in the second and fourth quarters when CHS was struggling offensively and “we needed to score,” Kreps said.

Anderson’s eight points led CHS against Eatonville. Enyart tallied six, McClain scored five, and Story had four.

Thiesies and junior forward Lexy McKee each put in two points, and junior guard Gisselle Garcia netted one.

“It was a good season,” said Kreps. “We achieved our goals of reaching district and winning a game. At times we were fun to watch. We played hard and got better.”

One of the things that Kreps was proudest of was the effort the Bruins put forth on defense.

“Defensively, we were as good as anyone in league,” he noted. “Having all but one girl back next year, we potentially could even be better.

Recommended for you