With a 37-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Connell girls basketball team had to feel pretty good about a 20-point advantage over Cascade Christian on Friday at the 1A state tournament at the Yakima SunDome.
But some funny things have been known to happen at state. In fact, just three years ago, the Eagles erased a 17-1 second-quarter deficit to beat Okanogan.
On Friday, it was Connell on the wrong end of a remarkable comeback, losing 42-40 to Cascade Christian in the 1A consolations.
The Cougars outscored the Eagles 25-3 in the fourth quarter, winning on Olivia Tuttle’s 3-pointer in the final seconds.
“I just told the girls to keep their heads up. It was a phenomenal season,” Connell coach Kameron Jenks said. “More importantly, it was a fun season, and there’s a lot more to life than just basketball.”
Jenks said that a major factor that led to Cascade Christian’s late run was the Cougars’ 2-3 zone defense, which squeezed Eagles post Michelle Schultz and forced the Connell guards to fire up shots from outside.
“Michelle really dominated inside in the first half, but we went ice cold against the 2-3. We ended up 0-for-8 on 3-pointers in the second half (and 1-for-11 overall),” Jenks said. “Another thing we feel was a huge turnaround was MarciAnne (Hawkins) got hit in the face and got a bloody nose, and she had to sit out 2-3 minutes. We were up by 20 when she went out, but that just deflated us. We were missing that ball pressure.”
Schultz led all scorers with 20 points. The Eagles outrebounded the Cougars 49-39, with Michelle Thompson grabbing nine boards and swatting away two shots.
Jenks said once Cascade Christian’s run started, there wasn’t much he could do to stop it but hope.
“We used a couple timeouts. It was just one of those feelings of helplessness, and nothing goes right,” Jenks said. “They just kept hitting shot after shot, and we weren’t able to score.”
Kaycee Creech led the Cougars with 17 points. Tuttle added 11 points. Each had three 3-pointers.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN — Kaycee Creech 17, Olivia Tuttle 11, Ruzumny 7, Read 5, Hunter, Suggs, Inderbitzin 2, Scott. Totals 11-39 14-24 42.
CONNELL — Hawkins 2, Kody Easterday 11, English 2, Michelle Schultz 20, Thompson 5, Vickerman, Booker, Riner, Kroontje. Totals 14-50 11-21 40.
Cascade Christian 5 4 8 25 — 42
Connell 13 14 10 3 — 40
Highlights — 3-pointers: Casc 6-12 (Creech 3, Tuttle 3), Con 1-11 (Easterday); Rebounds: Casc 36 (Chloe Read 9), Con 49 (Ashley Thompson 9); Turnovers: Casc 20, Con 17; Steals: Casc 7 (Suggs 2, Creech 2), Con 11 (Hawkins 5); Thompson 2 blocks; Hunter 2 blocks.