Thursday Prep Roundup: Gardner scores 36, hits game-winner as Raymond beats South Bend

Also: Willapa Valley picks up win over Pe Ell

RAYMOND — It takes guts as a coach to put the ball in the hands of a freshman in a tie game with 12 seconds left on the clock, unless that freshman is Kyra Gardner.

Raymond’s first-year phenom had the best game of her young prep career, nearly earning a triple-double with a whopping 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine steals. Oh and she also buried back-to-back jumpers in the final minute for the Seagulls, one to tie the game at 61-61 followed by a thrilling buzzer-beating game-winner to give Raymond the 63-61 win over South Bend on Thursday in Raymond.

“She’s a talent,” Raymond head coach Jason Koski said of Gardner. “She likes to compete. She’s our best player and your best players have to play the best if you want to compete against better teams. … She had a great game and I’m glad she’s on our team.”

Raymond (6-4 overall, 5-3 Central 2B) opened the game with a 6-0 run and led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter before South Bend (4-6, 4-4) clawed back in the game.

The Indians used a 10-0 run, capped by consecutive 3-pointers from Hannah Byington and Jessica Sanchez, to cut Raymond’s lead to three points with 3:26 left to go in the second quarter.

After Gardner hit a three to bring the Seagulls’ lead back up to six, South Bend closed out the half on a 6-0 run, capped by Alise Rohr’s running bank shot, to trim Raymond’s lead to 36-32 at the break.

But Raymond opened the lead back up to nine early in the third quarter on a Gardner drive and layup followed by an Ana Silva 3-pointer. The Seagulls would keep the Indians at arm’s reach for much of the quarter and entered the fourth with a 46-40 lead.

Raymond’s lead then quickly evaporated. South Bend guard Hannah Byington opened the final frame with a 3-pointer then stole Raymond’s following possession and fed senior Karley Reidinger, who was fouled and hit both freebies to make it a one-point game at 46-45.

Later in the period, Raymond extended it’s lead to 57-50 on a pair of Gardner free throws, but the Indians went on another run, scoring eight-straight points and taking their first lead of the contest on a Sanchez 3-pointer with 2:14 left to go.

Gardner responded by hitting a pull-up jumper to give the Seagulls a slim 57-57 lead before Byington used a screen from Reidinger to hit a three from the top of the key, giving South Bend a 61-59 lead with a minute left.

The Indians had a chance to put the game away from the charity stripe missed three consecutive free throws, giving the Seagulls hope with a half-minute left.

Then Gardner went to work. The 5-foot-8 guard hit her signature shot — a mid-range pull-up jumper — to tie the game at 61-61 with 27.7 seconds left.

On South Bend’s ensuing possession, Raymond Hannah Miller stole the ball and Koski quickly called timeout to set up a final shot for the win.

Raymond went back to the well once again, calling on Gardner, who took a pass off a 3-man weave, drove and hit a short jumper in the paint as the buzzer sounded to give Raymond the 63-61 victory.

“Knowing we were tied and being able to hit that winning shot, it’s just the best felling,” said Gardner, who added that she didn’t feel like the shot would fall when it left her hand. “I thought it was going to go out.”

“We could see that coming,” South Bend head coach Gary Wilson said of Gardner’s game-winning shot. “We tried to deny it but we’re giving up a lot of size and were limited. … Our biggest fear was that (Gardner) was going to make everyone else quite a bit better.”

Wilson felt his team battle hard, but missed opportunities at the end to cash in a victory.

“We’re most pleased with the effort and playing hard. That’s something we got away from the last couple of games and over Christmas, so it was good to see that,” he said. “We had opportunities to ice the game, but couldn’t quite get it done at the end.”

Gardner said her team was able to persevere by encouraging each other.

“We just gave each other pep talks to get our spirits high and keep going,” she said.

“For us, those things are very important,” Koski said of his team’s ability to get after what he called “50-50” balls. “We’re a young, inexperienced team that continues to grow each day. Rollercoaster games for a coach are really, really tough. But it’s nice for those kids to have some success at the end.”

The win gives Raymond a one-game lead over South Bend for fourth place in a competitive 2B Central League.

After a bitter league loss, Wilson offered words of encouragement to his players after the game.

“We want them to believe in themselves as much as the coaches believe in them,” he said. “We’ll use this game as a building point.”

Aside from Gardner, Raymond’s Izzy Silvernail scored eight points off the bench in a performance Koski said “showed improved poise down the stretch in a tough rivalry game.”

South Bend’s Jessica Sanchez hits a jump shot from the wing against Raymond on Thursday. (Ryan Sparks | Grays Harbor News Group)

South Bend’s Jessica Sanchez hits a jump shot from the wing against Raymond on Thursday. (Ryan Sparks | Grays Harbor News Group)

South Bend’s Sanchez (22 points), Reidinger (16), Rohr (12) and Byington (12) all scored in double figures for the Indians.

South Bend hosts Northwest Christian at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Raymond takes on Willapa Valley at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Menlo.

South Bend 12 20 8 21 — 61

Raymond 17 19 10 17 — 63

Top Players: Raymond — Gardner (36 pts., 11 reb., 9 stl., 4 asst.), Silvernail (8 pts., 3 reb., 3 stl.); SB — Sanchez (22 pts., 9 reb., 4 asst.), Reidinger (16 pts., 13 reb., 5 asst.), Rohr (12 pts., 4 reb.), Byington (10 pts., 4 reb.).

Willapa Valley 47, Pe Ell 29

Britney Patrick and Brooke Friese paced Willapa Valley in the Vikings’ 47-29 win over Pe Ell on Thursday at Pe Ell High School.

Patrick led all scorers with 14 points to go along with her team-high eight rebounds.

Friese added 13 points as the Vikings (9-2, 7-2 Central 2B) led by as many as 20 points in the contest.

Willapa Valley head coach John Peterson said that while he was pleased with the victory, his team still has much to work on.

“It was like we were in second gear and then we were stuck,” he said. “We had 17 turnovers and some were at critical times and we could never pull away.”

Willapa Valley shot 19-for-60 from the field and 7-of-14 from the charity stripe.

While Peterson is still working with his team on the finer points of the game, he said the effort is always there.

“You can question their decision making and shot selection, but you can never question how hard they play,” he said.

Willapa Valley hosts Raymond in a big league matchup at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Willapa Valley 16 12 12 7 — 47

Pe Ell 7 9 5 8 — 29

Top Players: WV — Patrick (14 pts., 8 reb.), Friese (13 pts.), Hannah Cook (4 stl.), Katie Adkins (3 asst.).

WF West 64, Aberdeen 11

Aberdeen was overwhelmed by WF West’s offensive firepower in a 69-11 loss in Chehalis on Thursday.

Aberdeen (1-8, 0-1 Evergeen 2A) was shutout in the first quarter and never recovered in its first league game of the season.

“WF West is just an all around solid team and we couldn’t keep up,” Aberdeen head coach Rachel Wenzel said. “I’m proud of our girls because they never gave up. They are fighters.”

Aliyah Tageant led the Bobcats with six points.

The win moves the Bearcats to 1-0 in the 2A Evergreen and 6-4 overall.

Aberdeen will look to bounce back with a non-league home game against Chimcacum on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

WF Weest 24 14 21 10 – 69

Aberdeen 0 5 6 9 – 11

Top Players: Aberdeen — Tageant ( 6 pts.)

— Hasani Grayson, Grays Harbor News Group

Other scores

Ilwaco 70, Ocosta 56


Timberline 4, Aberdeen 1

Bowling some of the highest scores in program history wasn’t enough to overcome Timberline in Aberdeen’s 4-1 loss at Aztec Lanes in Olympia on Thursday.

Aberdeen’s Megan Howell had a standout performance who led the way 300 total pins and picked up a turkey (three strikes in a row) in her first game.

Aberdeen (7-4, 4-2 Evergreen 2A) dropped the first match, 690-636, but appeared to be on its way to taking the second match. However, Timberline completed the comeback with a pair of turkeys to nose ahead in the final frames by a score of 716-706. Aberdeen’s score of 706 is third highest in school history.

The Bobcats picked up their one point in the second Baker game, which they won 159-142.

Timberline (9-5, 7-4 SSC 3A) was paced by Marisa Lindeke’s match-high 341.

Aberdeen will have another non-league match against Shelton at 3 p.m. on Monday.

Aberdeen – Howell (300), Iliana Mercado-George (292), Kaitlyn Martin (253), Bryerlee Perry (249), Annabelle Micheau (248)

Timberline – Marisa Lindeke (341), Bayli Lindeke (313), Natalie Wetherald (272), Courtney Cahill (250), Faith Doctor (230)

— Hasani Grayson, Grays Harbor News Group