The Willapa Valley girls basketball team will make an appearance in a district-title game for the first time in 20 years.
Behind a solid defensive effort, the Vikings defeated Taholah 38-32 in a 1B District 4 semifinal matchup on Wednesday in Taholah, earning Willapa Valley its first trip to the district final since 2002.
With points at a premium for both teams, it was Willapa Valley’s defense that keyed the victory on Wednesday.
The Vikings (12-8 overall) held Chitwhins standout senior Nakeah McCrory to six points on the evening while holding Taholah to 12-for-55 (22%) from the field as a team.
Willapa Valley held a 25-11 lead at the half, but Taholah (8-9) trimmed the deficit to 26-19 entering the fourth quarter after the Vikings struggled to score in the third quarter, making just 1-of-9 free throws in the frame.
The two teams played the fourth quarter near even, with the Chitwhins outscoring Willapa Valley 13-12 in the period.
Willapa Valley was led by seniors Chayse Coady and Lanissa Amacher, who scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, as the Vikings shot 13-for-44 (30%) from the field.
Amacher had a double-double by adding 11 rebounds to her stat line while Coady had seven rebounds and four steals for Willapa Valley, which had 12 steals as a team and forced 17 turnovers.
“In the first half, we played as well defensively as we could have played,” Willapa Valley head coach John Peterson said. “I’ve said it all along about my girls. I don’t know how good we are, but we are tough, both mentally and physically.”
Senior Angel Ancheta led the Chitwhins with 13 points while McCrory had 11 rebounds for Taholah.
With the victory, Willapa Valley clinched a spot in the state regionals and advances to its first district-title championship game in 20 years.
“I’m really, really proud of my kids,” Peterson said of the accomplishment. “We stay the course and we just grind.”
Willapa Valley will be seeking its first district championship since 1986 when it faces Naselle, which upset Mossyrock in a semifinal game on Wednesday, in the 1B District 4 championship game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Montesano High School.
PREP BOYS BASKETBALL
King’s Way Christian 71, Montesano 27
Montesano couldn’t slow down a hot-shooting King’s Way Christian Knights in a season-ending 71-27 loss in a 1A District 4 elimination game on Wednesday at Fort Vancouver High School.
Montesano (5-15) fell behind 19-7 in the first quarter after KWC (13-6) got off to a hot start and kept up the pressure.
The Bulldogs never found an offensive rhythm, trailing 34-11 by halftime and — after a 20-point third quarter by the Knights — faced a 54-17 deficit entering the final period.
“King’s Way started hot and never really slowed down,” Montesano head coach Doug Farmer said.
KWC had four scorers in double figures and shot a blistering 26-for-46 (54%) from the field, including hitting 9-of-20 (45%) from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, Montesano shot 11-for-49 (22%) from the floor and got to the foul line just six times in the game, making three free throws.
In his last game in a Bulldogs basketball uniform, senior Caydon Lovell led Montesano with eight points.
“We will miss (senior captain) Caydon Lovell,” Farmer said. “He had a great season, a great career and became a great leader for us.”
The loss ends a peculiar season that saw the Bulldogs deal with a mid-season coaching change, win just one of its first 13 games, and go on to win three of its final four league games to earn a spot in the district playoffs.
Seton Catholic 63, Elma 39
Two bad quarters did Elma in as the Eagles season came to an end with a 63-39 loss to Seton Catholic in a 1A District 4 elimination game on Wednesday at Fort Vancouver High School.
Elma (7-11) stumbled out of the game, trailing Seton Catholic by nine points at the end of the first quarter as the Eagles managed just eight points in the period.
Trailing 32-21 at the half, Elma scored five points in the third quarter on a Logan Witt field goal and Canon Seaberg three.
By the end of the period, the Eagles faced a 49-26 deficit.
“We missed some easy ones and they made us pay for it,” Elma head coach Matt Ferrier said. “We needed to match their scoring in the third quarter but came up empty.”
Witt led Elma with 13 points while Gibson Cain added eight for the Eagles.
The loss ends a season for Elma that saw the Eagles finish in second place in the 1A Evergreen League in Ferrier’s first year at the head of the program.
“What an amazing ride for the last 3 1/2 months,” Ferrier said. “We got some things ironed out. We have tremendous interest in our program moving forward. Thanks to my assistants coach Avery and coach Olsen, but more importantly, thanks to my eight seniors who are leaving the program in great shape. We are extremely proud of them.”
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Grays Harbor 92, Centralia 75
The Grays Harbor men’s college basketball team snapped a four-game losing streak with a 92-75 victory over Centralia on Wednesday in Aberdeen.
GHC (8-14 overall, 4-5 NWAC West) got big games from Justin Loveless and David Featherston Jr., each of whom scored a team high 21 points to lead the Chokers.
Tristan Schoepf added 11 points for GHC while Dylan Hunter and Dallin Spencer gave the Chokers a spark off the bench with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
GHC held a 37-17 advantage on the boards and committed just six turnovers in the game.
The Chokers shot 40-for-69 from the field — a 58% clip — including going 8-for-25 (32%) from 3-point range.
GHC is scheduled to host South Puget Sound at 4 p.m. on Saturday.