LONGVIEW — A fast start and furious finish enabled Pe Ell to hold off an upset-minded Raymond squad.
Scoring the game’s first 10 points and final 13 points, the second-ranked Trojans held off the Seagulls, 43-30 in a Class 2B Region II girls basketball game Friday night at Mark Morris High School in Longview.
The Seagulls finished the season at 22-4.
Employing a suffocating full-court zone defense, it appeared as though Pe Ell’s opening two-minute salvo might be enough to render the rest of the game a moot point.
The Trojans hit their first three field goals, and five of their first six – all in the paint and all in the game’s opening two minutes to jump out to a 10-0 lead, causing Raymond coach Jon Schray to call an early timeout.
The Gulls responded with three of their own buckets – driving layins from Alysha Garcia and Dalia Silva, and another layin from Courtney Hagain to pull within four with two minutes left in the first period.
However, Pe Ell rattled off the final eight points of the first quarter to close with an 18-6 lead.
The Seagulls trimmed the margin to eight at halftime and then put together their finest five minutes to start the second half.
Switching at the half from a man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone, with Abby Maneman providing pressure on the Pe Ell ball-handlers, the Gulls held Pe Ell to 3-of-14 from the field in the third.
Additionally, the Pacific County club started to hit a few shots of its own.
Hagain and Hailee Williams sandwiched 3-pointers around a layin by Pe Ell’s Alissa Brooks-Johnson to trim the margin to four with 3:35 left in the quarter and a Maneman putback with 20 seconds left in the frame narrowed the deficit to two.
The teams played a scoreless first three minutes of the fourth quarter before reserve Raymond guard Amanda Koski snuck by a pair of Trojan defenders for a layin and tied the game at 30-all with 4:24 left, the first tie since the opening tip.
However, that would be the final Gull field goal of the season.
Seventeen seconds later, Brooks-Johnson scored on a putback to put the Trojans on top for good and Pe Ell guard Taylor Ratkie drained a three-pointer from the right wing to increase the lead to five with 3:38 left.
From there, the Central League champions sealed their trip to the state tournament in Spokane by shooting six-of-seven from the free throw line in the final ninety seconds.
Raymond shot 1-of-10 from the field in the fourth.
“I’m definitely happy with the way our defense played tonight,” Schray said afterward. “But the bottom line was we weren’t hitting our shots.”
The Seagulls finished the night 11-of-42 from the floor.
Schray was particularly pleased with his team’s work on Brooks-Johnson and Sami Robinson, who entered the game combining for over 30 points. T he Gulls held the duo to a combined 19 points.
Schray praised Garcia for her work on Brooks-Johnson in the second half.
Hagain led the Gulls with eight points. Unable to connect with regularity from the field, Gulls ace and Pacific League MVP Maneman was held to five points, eleven below her season average.
“This year was a fantastic ride for us. 22-4 overall, 19 straight wins at one point, making it to regionals, we accomplished a lot, and I’m not sure many people thought we were capable of playing this well this year, outside of ourselves,” Schray concluded.
Koski, Hagain, Maneman, Shylo Boyes, Macy Karlsvik and Silva closed out their prep careers for Raymond.
Ray 6 10 12 2 — 30 PE 18 6 6 13 — 43
Raymond (30) — Koski 2, Hagain 8, Williams 5, Boyes 2, Garcia 4, Maneman 5, Karlsvik 2, Silva 2. FG – 11- 42 (.262). FT – 5-7.
Pe Ell (43) – Brooks-Johnson 13, Ratkie 10, Skeen 3, Miller 4, Robinson 6, A. Alden 4, M. Alden 3. FG – 16-40 (.400). FT – 6-9.