By Amylynn Richards
The boys’ basketball team is in Spokane today, ready to battle for the Washington State 2B State Championship title. The first game will take place on Thursday, Mar. 3 at the Spokane Arena; the Braves take on Northwest Christian High School.
Northwest will have the “home-court advantage,” as that high school is a mere 13 miles away from the Arena. The boys would certainly appreciate some hometown faces to cheer them on to victory against the Northwest Christian team, which is currently rated number one in the 2B state division, and boasts a 91 percent winning record. The Braves have an 84 percent winning record and are currently ranked tenth in the 2B state division.
The winner of the first round on Thursday, Mar. 3 will compete again on Friday, Mar. 4 against either Adna or Colfax at 3:45 p.m. The championship will take place on Saturday, Mar. 5 at 9 p.m. Go, Braves!
Should the boys lose Thursday’s game, the team will have two games ahead of them to win fourth place in State. Should the boys win Thursday but lose Friday’s game, they would compete for third place in State.
The boys played two games last week to get where they are today. The Braves played the first round of the sweet sixteen against Napavine in Longview on Friday, Feb. 25 at 9:15 p.m. Napavine won, 78-58. Coach Scott Novak reports that Mike Wilbur scored 17 points, and senior Kyle McKnight brought in 12 points.
On Saturday, the Braves played a loser-out game against Riverside Christian. The Braves won 62-53. Landy James was 6 for 6 from the free-throw line, scoring 19 points total for the Braves; Spencer Novak scored 17; and senior Sten Mejlaender scored 10 rebounds.
The girls played North Beach high school at Mount Vernon high school on Friday, Feb. 25. North Beach, out of Ocean Shores, won 72-23. “Friday's game was a tough way to end the season after having such a magical week the previous week,” says Coach Marla Quesnell, “every game that we were able to play past the regular season were bonus games for this young team”
Nikki Finley was the teams’ high scorer with 8 points. “She did much of the ball handling throughout the game and she played hard no matter what the scoreboard said,” reports Quesnell. Priscilla Ponce-Venegas brought in 5 rebounds. It was great to be one of the top sixteen teams in the state. Winning three loser-out games in a row was something we were proud of. We will take a bit of time off and then start getting better for next season. Thanks to all the fans who supported us this year.
On Saturday, Feb. 26, North Beach faced Darrington. Darrington won 55-37, and so the Darrington Loggers have survived the sweet 16 and move forward to state competition next week.
Quesnell looks forward to next year, “We bring back all players, except for our lone senior Samie Miller.” Quesnell said of Miller, “She has meant a great deal to this young team. She has been a mentor, a role model for toughness and hard work and a lot of fun to be around. Samie provided instant offense through the season and she also was a calming force on the floor at the end of close games. We will miss her, but we feel lucky she will still be in the valley and hope she comes back to visit.”