CENTRALIA — Aberdeen’s season came to an end on Tuesday night with the girls firing away from the perimeter. This is exactly what Hockinson wanted them to do.
In a District IV 2A girls basketball loser-out contest, the Bobcats couldn’t find their range inside the paint and had to fire from long distance against the Hawks. Hockinson led early, led at halftime and led late en route to a 49-38 victory over Aberdeen at Centralia High School.
The Bobcats’ season ends with a 10-12 record.
“The same broken record is — offensively, we’ve started out slow again tonight and it has been the last 5-6 games where we haven’t found our rhythm and hit shots,” AHS head coach Aaron Roiko said. “All of a sudden, you are down (13-2) and these girls know it is hard to respond from that. All that being said, we lost our offensive groove, our confidence at some point this year.”
The Bobcats, who are known to fire up a few perimeter shots within their offense, were pretty much allowed to shoot from the outside against the Hawks (10-12). Aberdeen was held scoreless inside the paint in the first half and finished with just eight points scored within 15 feet of the basket, six of them coming in the fourth quarter.
Aberdeen never led in the contest, but made Hockinson sweat in the fourth quarter. On a modest 9-4 run that saw the Bobcats finally establish some offense in close to the basket, Aberdeen trailed 39-35 with 4:35 left in the contest. Emily Fisher’s 3-point basket got the Bobcats to that point and the junior forward nearly got them closer.
With 3 1/2 minutes left, Aberdeen worked the ball around and found Fisher open on the right wing. Her shot was true, but the spin of the ball took it three-quarters inside the cylinder and out. On Hockinson’s next possession, it worked the ball around to kill some of the clock and got its second and final 3-point shot of the game converted by Brianna Curtis for a 42-35 lead.
It would be the closest the Bobcats would come as the Hawks’ defense forced pivotal turnovers and hit their free throws to ice the contest.
“We made a run, Emily’s shot rimmed out and that would have made it a one-possession game,” Roiko added. “I thought the effort was there. We were nearly one possession away.”
With dominance in the paint and mid-range territory, Hockinson took advantage with its leading scorer — 6-foot post Katelyn McGuire — leading the way. Hitting from all points inside 10 feet from the basket, McGuire scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the first half. Ten of her 14 first-half points came in the first quarter, powering a 13-2 advantage with less than a minute left.
Senior forward Mo Donovan drained a 3-point shot from the wing in the final seconds of the quarter to help with a 13-5 score. Donovan hit four of Aberdeen’s five 3-point shots in the contest and led the Bobcats with a team-high 20 points before she fouled out late in the contest.
Donovan hit two treys in the second quarter, with Rachael Schermer and Kiana Dixon each adding long-range jumpers from the wing, for Aberdeen’s offense. Hockinson cooled off just a bit, but led, 23-15, at halftime.
Aberdeen tried in the second half to get its dribble-drive offense moving against Hockinson and found some success. Donovan’s driving layup and 3-point play free throw was the Bobcats’ first interior field goal of the contest with 4:02 left in the third quarter.
The Bobcats kept driving and finding their way to the free-throw line, hitting 6-of-9 attempts. Unfortunately, they went cold with just one free throw in the final 3:10 of the quarter to allow the Hawks to gain a 35-26 lead after three.
Coach Roiko cited seniors Donovan and Rachael Schermer for their hard work and dedication to the Aberdeen girls basketball program and for their work in the final game of the season. Roiko also thanked his coaching staff — Robin Ferguson, Ian Connell and Kelly Stewart — for their work this season.
Hock 13 10 12 14 — 49 Abe 5 10 11 12 — 38
Hockinson (49) — Dunham 8, Cole 3, Koenig, Curitss 7, Vandermaas, McGuire 22, Neibauer 9, Sparks, Hartloo, Tikin, Schommer. FG — 20-54 (.370). FT — 6-9.
Aberdeen (38) — Schermer 4, Fisher 5, Laird, Dixon 9, Manwell, Walsh, Roiko, Kuhn, Blackburn, Utto-Galarneau, Donovan 20. FG — 13-41 (..317). FT — 7-11.