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There are times when a team has done all the right things in its quest to reach the mountaintop.
It has produced everything from senior leadership and savvy to a game plan to guts, plus a list of things already done and won to produce the requisite amounts of know-how and confidence.
But also, the drive for the ultimate prize sometimes presents obstacles beyond said team’s control.… Jump To Rest Of Story →
But also, the drive for the ultimate prize sometimes presents obstacles beyond said team’s control.
Witness the East Valley Red Devils, who brought everything needed for a Class 2A state championship into Saturday’s title game with Clarkston — everything except a way to control Bantams superstar Jamie Weisner.
The 5-foot-11 senior staged a performance for the ages in the SunDome, scoring 33 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and providing ample evidence of her recruitment to Oregon State in a 53-41 triumph.
Seventeen of her points came during a second half in which top-ranked Clarkston (25-1) overcame a 23-14 deficit and generally overshadowed yet another stellar EV effort.
The third-ranked Red Devils finished 24-2, having reached the championship game for the first time since 2003 when the program won the second of back-to-back titles under the late Jack Cleveland.
His successor, Robi Raab, expressed disappointment only in that his players, especially seven seniors, had been denied a reward they had so strenuously worked toward.
“It definitely was not a lack of effort,” he said. “They’re such great kids, a joy to coach and just be around. Unbelievable young people.”
Weisner, meanwhile, was worthy of that description — not to mention being named the tournament’s MVP — with her play.
If her point total fell seven short of the tournament record set by Pullman’s Christa Brossman in 2000, her impact on the game was reminiscent of Luke Ridnour’s heroics in Blaine’s 60-56 overtime defeat of Wapato for the 2000 boys title.
“She’s phenomenal,” said EV senior and co-captain Jamie Hodgson, who led her team with 11 points. “We just couldn’t stop her.”
The first half saw the Red Devils pick up where they left off in Friday’s semifinal conquest of White River. With Mikaela Zimmer scoring the final five points of the first quarter for an 11-9 lead, EV surged to a 23-11 advantage late in the half — this despite all-tournament first-team pick Yasi Mohsenian sitting for a time with two personal fouls.
But Weisner, with only four points to that juncture, hit a 3-pointer just before the intermission buzzer, providing a harbinger of things to come.
“We tried to keep track of her and always know where she was,” Raab said. “But we’ve been so fundamentally sound on defense, we had to essentially stay with what we do best (a 2-3 zone).”
Scoring on everything from full-court gallops after rebounds or steals to mid-range jumpers, Weisner tallied the first 13 points of the half for Clarkston, and when teammate Sierra Higheagle converted a fast-break bucket with 3:51 left in the third quarter, the Bantams were even at 27.
Weisner’s putback of her own miss made it 33-29, Clarkston, before EV got three unanswered points from Hodgson for a 33-32 deficit starting the final eight minutes.
A 10-footer from Weisner ignited an 11-0 Bantams run to start the fourth quarter, however, and the Devils would never get closer than eight.
With Weisner connecting on 10 of 14 shots in the second half, Clarkston collectively fired at a 68 percent clip over the final two periods. East Valley, meanwhile, finished at 30 percent for the game.
“Ultimately,” Raab said, “we didn’t make enough shots. We didn’t build our lead as big as it could have been in the first half, and since it was such a physical game we didn’t play well enough through contact.”
Zimmer and Tassia Merkle each scored eight points for EV and Ashlee Betancourth, named to the all-tournament second team, added six.
Clarkston — Zipse 1-1 2-2 5, McConnell 2-8 2-2 6, Weisner 13-23 6-9 33, Gleason 0-1 0-0 0, Folsom 0-0 0-0 0, Meyers 1-4 2-3 4, Higheagle 2-8 0-0 5, Reeves 0-0 0-0 0, Thompson 0-0 0-0 0, Hines 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-46 12-16 53.
East Valley (Yakima) — Betancourth 2-4 0-0 6, Ross 1-6 1-2 4, Mohsenian 1-10 1-2 4, Garcia-Stubbs 0-0 0-0 0, Robertson 0-0 0-0 0, Merkle 3-8 1-2 8, Yates 0-0 0-0 0, Chavis 0-0 0-0 0, Hodgson 5-13 1-2 11, Ward 0-0 0-0 0, Ramynke 0-1 0-0 0, Zimmer 3-8 2-2 8. Totals 15-50 6-9 41.
|East Valley (24-2)||11||12||9||9||—||41|
3-point goals—C 3-18 (Zipse 1-1, Higheagle 1-5, Weisner 1-6, Gleason 0-1, Meyers 0-2, McConnell 0-3), EV 5-23 (Betancourth 2-4, Ross 1-4, Merkle 1-5, Mohsenian 1-8, Hodgson 0-1, Ramynke 0-1). Rebounds—C 33 (Weisner 12, McConnell 8), EV 33 (Hodgson 7). Assists—C 6, EV 7 (Mohsenian 4). Steals—C 5 (Weisner 3), EV 4 (Betancourth 2). Blocked shots—C 2, EV 0. Fouled out—None. Total fouls—C 9, EV 14. Technical fouls—None. Turnovers—C 7, EV 8.