CHEHALIS — A pair of dominating performances helped East County girls basketball teams shoo away tournament butterflies on Thursday night.
Jordan Spradlin re-established membership in the 20-20 Club with 20 points and 20 rebounds as Montesano remained unbeaten with a 53-38 win over Ilwaco in the quarterfinals of the District IV Class 1A girls basketball tournament at Chehalis.
Brooke Goldsmith scored 25 points and pulled down 15 rebounds as Elma downed La Center, 49-40, in the first half of the doublehader.
Montesano (21-0) will face Kalama in one district semifinal, scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at Chehalis. Elma (15-5) will take on unbeaten Woodland in the other semi, slated for 8 p.m. Saturday at Kelso.
Saturday’s semifinal winners will also clinch regional berths.
Neither East County club was at its best on Thursday. Montesano, a good ball-handling club for much of the campaign, committed nine turnovers in the opening 12 minutes — an affliction that coach Julie Graves acknowledged was probably due to nerves on the part of her seniorless club.
Elma coach Lisa Johnson was even more blunt about a similarly slow start on the part of her more experienced squad.
“They said they were scared to death,” she said.
Bulldogs 53, Fishermen 38
Monte faced uncharacteristic adversity in the early stages of this contest.
The Bulldogs found themselves in a 5-0 hole in the game’s opening 75 seconds. In addition to their ball-handling difficulties, they were also without Spradlin for about three minutes of the first half, after the freshman post picked up two fouls by the midway point of the first quarter.
Ilwaco, meanwhile, was making few mistakes. The Fishermen committed only seven turnovers for the contest.
Only Spradlin’s 11 first-half points and Ilwaco’s inability to connect from the perimeter (the Fishermen were only 6-of-31 from the field) enabled the Bulldogs to carve out a 24-19 halftime lead.
Montesano then settled the issue by holding the Fishermen scoreless for the opening six minutes of the third quarter while reeling off the first 14 points of the second half.
“The third quarter was definitely key,” Graves said. “We came out and took care of business.”
Kasie Kloempken connected from the baseline on the opening possession of the half. Megan Choate drove for a lay-in and Spradlin and Cortney Miller followed with rebound baskets that made it 32-19 at the 4:29 mark of the third quarter. Buckets by Spradlin, Myranda Floch and Miller completed the run.
The Fishermen reduced the margin to 10 on a couple of occasions. But, taking better care of the ball and, in Graves’ estimation, playing better defense, the Bulldogs maintained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.
Junior point guard Choate collected 11 points and four assists. The Bulldogs also received a significant second-half boost from sophomore forward Miller, who contributed eight of her 10 points and the majority of her five rebounds in the final two quarters.
Myranda Floch also had five rebounds for Montesano.
One oddity as that Monte actually shot a high percentage from the field (.457) than from the foul line (.420).
Sophomore guard Hannah Ellswoth hit two 3-point baskets and all ends of a three-shot foul in topping Ilwaco with 13 points. Jasmine Coffin, Ilwaco’s leading scorer for the season, scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half.
Eagles 49, Wildcats 40
Better known for its speed than its rebounding, Elma owned an enormous 64-21 advantage off the glass in this contest.
That proved the Eagles’ salvation in a game in which they shot only 23 percent from the field. Even when they misfired, they usually helped themselves to second and third chances — often drawing fouls in the process.
Reserve Conley Doyle pulled down 13 rebounds and Taryn Farrar eight for Elma.
“We don’t like to lose in any area, but we’ve been working on improvement in that category (since the second loss to Montesano),” Johnson noted.
Elma’s offensive game plan probably was more involved than having Goldsmith take the ball to the hoop at every opportunity. That, however, was the tactic that worked best, as the athletic senior guard matched La Center’s team point total in the first half with 17. The Eagles led 23-17 at that stage.
More Eagles got into the scoring act in the second half as the East County crew pulled away.
Sisters Maddie and Lauren Thompson joined with Goldsmith on a 13-4 run that increased the lead to 40-24 with 5:40 remaining.
La Center’s Andrea Griffee caught fire from 3-point range to narrow the deficit to eight, 45-37, with 2:58 left. Neither team, however, scored again until the final 30 seconds.
“We came out and played afraid,” Johnson summed up. “Luckily, we had the big rebounding advantage, cut down on our turnovers and switched defenses (to a zone) in the second half.”
Lauren Thompson came off the bench to score eight of her nine points in the second half.
In addition to her scoring and rebounding exploits, Goldsmith teamed up with Sydney Smythe to do an excellent defensive job on Wildcat ace Katie Whitten.
Tiny (5 feet) but exceptionally quick, Whitten had difficulty separating herself from her defenders and needed a late 3-pointer to finish with 13 points. Griffee topped La Center with 15.
La Center 9 8 7 16 — 40
Elma 8 15 11 15 — 49
La Center (40) — Whitten 13, Denney 6, Griffee 15, Hebdon, Moudy 2, Vermuelen 2. Aguirre 2, Smith. FG — 15-50 (.300). FT — 5-8.
Elma (49) — M. Thompson 7, Farrar 2, Goldsmith 25, Smythe 2, Lipska, Elliott, Cristelli 2, L. Thompson 9, Hall, A. Thompson, Doyle 2. FG — 15-65 (.231). FT— 18-31.
Ilwaco 8 11 9 10 — 38
Montesano 11 13 16 13 — 53
Ilwaco (38) — Ellsworth 13, Lindstrom 9, McMillan 2, Trusty 2, Coffin 12, Tapio, Benenati. FG — 13-60 (.217). FT — 9-16.
Montesano (53) — M. Floch 4, Choate 11, Miller 10, Kloempken 2, Spradlin 20, Jensen, S. Floch 6. FG — 21-46 (.457). FT — 11-25.