ROCHESTER — Hoquiam’s girls answered the challenge in a tense final minute to pass a district survival test.
Kylie Stewart and Olivia Rose provided clutch baskets to help the Grizzlies advance to the main bracket of the District IV Class 1A girls basketball tournament with a 44-43 win over White Salmon on Tuesday night at Rochester.
By eliminating the Bruins in a loser-out contest, the Grizzlies (10-11) qualified for the double-elimination portion of the tournament. They’ll face unbeaten Woodland in a quarterfinal contest scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday at Kelso.
Tuesday’s game began and ended in strange fashion.
The game began with a technical foul on White Salmon, called when Bruin players ran the baseline on Hoquiam’s end of the court during pre-game warm-ups. Hoquiam’s Brandi Creviston made one of two free throws for what, as it developed, was the margin of victory.
Down by eight midway through the fourth quarter, the Bruins rallied to take a 41-40 lead with about one minute remaining. Stewart sank a 10-footer to put Hoquiam back on top, then Rose took a feed from Ellie Quercia for a lay-in that made it 44-41 with 54 seconds left.
White Salmon’s Kirstin Hylton hit a short bank shot with 34 seconds left to reduce the margin to one.
The Bruins opted against fouling to stop the clock on Hoquiam’s next possession. A Grizzly shot missed as the 30-second clock wound down, but Stewart grabbed an offensive rebound and passed to a teammate as time expired.
“Their size hurt us,” Hoquiam coach Mark Maxfield said. “But, overall, we played well enough to win. You have to compliment White Salmon. They’ve been out of school and have had one practice since last Wednesday (due to snow in the Columbia Gorge).”
Quercia, 6-of-10 from the field, led Hoquiam with 13 points and six rebounds. She was also cited by Maxfield for her ball-handling.
Kelci Parker came off the bench to sink all six of her free throws to contribute eight points for the Grizzlies.
Hylton and Savannah Story shared White Salmon scoring honors with 13 points each.
W. Salmon 7 13 10 13 — 43
Hoquiam 7 11 16 10 — 44
White Salmon (43) — McClain 2, Savannah Story 13, Vasquez 2, Enyart, Grim, Kermani 6, Olin, Reetz 1, Brending 6, Kirstin Hylton 13. FG — 19-46 (.413). FT — 2-6.
Hoquiam (44) — Quercia 13, Parker 8, Rose 6, Kramer 2, Creviston 7, Stewart 2, Johnson 2, Sansaver 4, Doyle. FG — 17-41 (.415). FT — 9-13.