Delaney Hodgins’ stellar career came to a frustrating end on the floor of Art Dawald Gymnasium, rather than on the court at the Tacoma Dome.
The Chiawana star was plagued by foul trouble, playing just five minutes in the first half, as the Riverhawks couldn’t overcome an early deficit, losing 65-55 to Kentwood in a Class 4A regional game at Richland High.
“It was really frustrating,” she said. “Because I feel like I let my team down.”
Hodgins, who got a cup of coffee at the state tournament as a freshman, saw her career come to an end against a West side school, which shot lights out from behind the 3-point line.
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The Conquerors made eight 3-pointers on the afternoon, including 6-of-13 in the first half to build a double-digit lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“I watched game film on them and never saw them shoot like that,” Chiawana coach Steve Davis said. “They stepped up tonight and had some girls that really wanted to get to the Dome and they were on a mission. All the credit to them. They made shots and played well. They outplayed us today.”
Kentwood advances to the state tournament for the fourth consecutive year and will find out its opponent at the WIAA draw Sunday.
The Conquerors led 7-0 and 13-4 early on, as Hodgins picked up two fouls in the first 3 minutes and had to go to the bench. It didn’t get much better from there, as Kentwood controlled the first half, eventually taking a 35-22 lead into the break.
“We didn’t come out with enough energy,” Chiawana senior Kendra Winchester said. “We thought we were going to come out and it would be different for us.”
Twice in the second half, Chiawana pulled within eight and both times Kentwood responded.
Braydey Hodgins made two free throws and Winchester had a layup to pull Chiawana within 43-35 with 1:40 left in the third quarter, but Kate Kramer made a layup and Jenny Johnson hit a 3-pointer to push the lead back out.
In the fourth quarter, Winchester made a layup and Jennifer Gonzales hit two free throws to make it 52-44, but Alycea DeLong made a 3-pointer on the other end, Kramer had a layup and Sarah Toeaina made a bucket for a 59-44 lead with 2:04 left.
“It’s really disappointing,” Delaney Hodgins said, “because we were this close (to Tacoma).”
The loss ends the careers of Bernadette Roach, Delaney Hodgins, Gonzales and Winchester. Hodgins will play college basketball at Eastern Washington next year, while Winchester hopes to play in college.
“It’s tough because this group of kids, with all they’ve been through, wanted to get to the Tacoma Dome,” Davis said. “For a stretch tonight, we didn’t matchup and it came back to hurt us in the end.”
Toeaini, who will play volleyball at Hawaii next year, led all scorers with 17 points, four assists and three steals. DeLong added 17 points, while Jenny Johnson had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Braydey Hodgins’ 14 led the Riverhawks, while Winchester had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Delaney Hodgins finished with nine points, three assists and three steals.
“It’s tough on kids like that,” Davis said of Delaney. “Her dream was to get back to Tacoma. She is a kid that all the effort she puts in, she deserves to be in Tacoma. It just wasn’t our night tonight, but that doesn’t hold anything back on Delaney about how great a career she had or how important she’s been to the program.
“She’s definitely in my all-time starting five.”
KENTWOOD — Sarah Toeaini 6 5-5 17, Kate Kramer 6 0-1 12, Alycea DeLong 6 2-2 17, Ashley Rolsma 2 0-0 6, Jenny Johnson 3 2-2 10, Zaria Jones 1 0-0 3, Ashleigh Key 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 9-10 65.
CHIAWANA — Delaney Hodgins 3 3-5 9, Kendra Winchester 6 1-2 13, Braydey Hodgins 6 2-4 14, Bailey Cartwright 2 3-4 7, Molly Sullivan 0 0-2 0, Shaelyn Logozzo 0 1-2 1, Jennifer Gonzales 3 2-2 11, Bernadette Roach 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 12-21 55.
Kentwood 19 16 15 15 — 65
Chiawana 8 14 14 19 — 55
3-point goals—Kentwood 8 (DeLong 3, Rolsma 2, Johnson 2, Jones), Chiawana 3 (Gonzales 3). Rebounds—Kentwood 36 (Johnson 11), Chiawana 32 (Winchester 11). Assists—Kentwood 10 (Toeaini 4), Chiawana 6 (D. Hodgins 3). Steals—Kentwood 10 (Toeaini 3), Chiawana 8 (D. Hodgins 3). Turnovers—Kentwood 22, Chiawana 19. Fouls—Kentwood 17, Chiawana 12