A miracle buzzer-beater and struggles at the free-throw line down the stretch couldn’t keep the Chiawana High School girls basketball team from topping visiting Richland 57-54 in overtime on Tuesday to stay alive in the Mid-Columbia Conference/Greater Spokane League sub-regionals.
“It’s really exciting, beating them for a (22nd) time,” Chiawana junior guard Kenedy Cartwright said. “You can hear the music in the locker room, everyone’s really excited about it. And I’m excited for this week to see how hard my team works.”
The Riverhawks (17-6) have never lost to Richland in their eight-year history. Sophomore guard Macey Morales had a game-high 16 points, and Alyssa Agundis, Cartwright and Clare Eubanks each scored 10 for Chiawana.
“I personally would rather have four or five that can score 10 points, because then (the other team) doesn’t get to take away one kid,” Chiawana coach Steve Davis said. “If they take away one kid, it doesn’t really hurt you.”
It took a while for Chiawana to get going — Richland led 7-0 after three minutes — but the Riverhawks went on a 15-2 run over the last 4:35 of the opening period to lead by six heading into the second.
After that, the Riverhawks never trailed. Richland (11-11) tied it at 38-all near the beginning of the fourth quarter and used an 8-0 run to trail 49-48 with 55 seconds to go.
That was when things got interesting.
Senior guard Kamri von Oelhoffen — Richland’s leading scorer with 13 points — picked up a technical foul after making a layup and tapping the ball into the wall behind the basket — and, the officials said, away from the Riverhawks player trying to inbound it.
That began a string of six consecutive missed free throws for Chiawana, which started the game 11 for 14 from the line. But two offensive rebounds, by Eubanks and Agundis, kept it on the offensive end for the Riverhawks.
“Those are two things for the last three or four games that have really been hurting us; we’re not making free throws and we’re giving up a lot of offensive rebounds,” Davis said. “We got lucky tonight that we got away with it.”
Agundis knocked down a pair of free throws with 4.4 seconds remaining to make it 51-48. But Richland junior point guard Taryn Webb wasn’t ready to see the season end, as she ran the inbounds pass to midcourt and banked a buzzer-beater 3 to tie the score and send the game to overtime.
“Taryn pretty much always shows grit,” Richland coach Cindy McCoy said. “I think it was against Chiawana last year when we played them here, she hit a shot to put it into overtime. She never gives up.”
But Richland was hampered in OT by two of its leading scorers — von Oelhoffen and Nicole Gall (scored 11 points) — fouling out in the final 10 seconds of regulation.
McCoy said the overtime period “absolutely” would have been different with von Oelhoffen and Gall on the floor. “But the kids that were out there were completely capable of doing it as well. We had our opportunities, but just a turnover here or there, needing a block out two or three times in a row ... it’s a different outcome.”
Morales went 4 for 4 at the free-throw line for Chiawana in overtime to fuel a 6-3 advantage in the extra period. Webb attempted another shot from midcourt as time expired, but it bounced hard of the top of the backboard.
Chiawana will host Lewis and Clark — which beat Mead 66-39 on Tuesday — on Friday (time TBD) in another loser-out game. The winner will face the loser of the sub-regional championship (Gonzaga Prep at Central Valley) on Saturday in a winner-to-state, loser-out game.
“It’s the same story every year: the GSL’s loaded,” Davis said. “But we’re still playing, the last (4A) team out of the MCC, and we’re gonna give it everything we’ve got.”
Richland will graduate two of the top players in the conference in von Oelhoffen and guard/forward Maysun Wellsandt. McCoy praised their contributions to the program.
“They’re our two leading scorers, so they give us a lot, obviously,” she said. “Both of those players are somebody the other team has to worry about; they did a great job for us in that way.”
RICHLAND: Webb 6, Kamri von Oelhoffen 13, Stevens 6, Maysun Wellsandt 12, Nicole Gall 11, Garza 2, Haugen, Chalmers 2, Pierce 2. Totals: 20-53 9-12 54.
CHIAWANA: Macey Morales 16, Alyssa Agundis 10, Cordray 3, Clare Eubanks 10, Kenedy Cartwright 10, Hirai 3, Thorne 2. Totals: 17-53 17-28 57.
Highlights — R, von Oelhoffen 8 rebs, 3 stls; Gall 3 asts.C, Agundis 12 rebs; Morales 8x10 FTs; Cartwright 4 stls, 4 asts.