CHEHALIS — Montesano’s offensive woes resurfaced one step shy of state.
Limiting the Bulldogs to single-digit scoring in three quarters, King’s ended Monte’s season with a 47-30 victory in the Region II Class 1A Girls Basketball Tournament on Friday at Chehalis High School.
The Knights from Shoreline (17-8) advanced to the state 1A tourney beginning Thursday in Yakima.
Seeking their first state berth since 1999, the Bulldogs concluded their campaign at 15-10.
Montesano played its customary stalwart defense, battled the taller Knights to a 23-all rebounding standoff in the first half and was able to handle the King’s press with a degree of efficiency, particularly in the first half.
But the Bulldogs, who had largely conquered their traditional shooting difficulties during a late-season run that produced the first district championship appearance in school history, never found an answer for King’s active 1-2-2 zone.
The Knights got a hand on numerous entry passes in an exceptionally physical contest in which nearly every rebound turned into a wrestling match.
The Bulldogs were unable to connect shooting over the top of the zone. On the occasions they were able to get the ball inside, they generally launched shots amid a forest of Knight arms.
The result was a .283 field-goal percentage and 20 turnovers.
“They were more physical than we were used to and (we were) not strong when we were going up,” Monte coach Julie Graves said. “After we got behind, we rushed.
“We didn’t face a team with that length this season,” Graves added, referring to a King’s club whose entire starting lineup ranges between 5-foot-9 and 5-11. “No team in our area has that wing span.”
Karly Hibbard, a 5-9 junior who came off the bench, led the winners’ balanced attack with 13 points. Five-ten freshman Daylee Hanson added 12 markers.
Senior Bobbi Fry was Montesano’s lone double-figure scorer with 10 points, but had to work hard for that total.
Monte’s Myranda Floch stole the ball and soloed for a layin early in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 12-8. The Bulldogs then went scoreless for the next 6:18 and actually did well to trail by only eight (20-12) at the half.
Briefly finding their mid-range shooting touch, the Bulldogs closed to within six on two occasions in the third quarter. Justine Nuckols’ baseline jumper made it 24-18 with 3:12 remaining in the period.
The Knights, however, began asserting themselves inside at this point, controlling the offensive glass and drawing fouls.
Hibbard sank two free throws at the three-minute mark. Then, after a Bulldog turnover in backcourt, King’s freshman Kendall Adams added two more from the line six seconds later.
Daylee Hanson’s basket on the next Knight possession extended the lead to 12 at 30-18. When Fry and senior forward Mackinzie Malizia each picked up their fourth personals later in the quarter (both fouled out in the final stanza), Monte’s comeback hopes were all but extinguished.
Floch turned in a good all-around performance with six points, seven rebounds and three steals. Bulldog point guard Megan Choate, who received a WIAA sportsmanship award following the contest, dished out three assists.
Graves paid tribute to her team — particularly seniors Fry, Malizia and Nuckols — for its improvement in a season that was Monte’s best in more than a decade.
“I’m proud of the kids from (going) from where we started to the top 16 (at state),” she said. “There were a lot of great accomplishments that happened over the course of the season.”
King’s 12 8 15 12 — 47 Monte 6 6 11 7 — 30
King’s (47) —K.. Adams 9, Rasmussen, D. Hanson 12, A. Adams 2, S. Hanson 8, Hibbard 13, Kieling 2, Parker 1, Berenson, Jones, Hayek, Shinn. FG — 17-57 (.298). FT — 11-16.
Montesano (30) — Floch 6, Nuckols 5, Choate 5, Fry 10, Malizia 2, Ostwald, Miller 2, Klompken, Howard, Schurr. FG — 13-46 (.283). FT — 3-8.