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2A Girls Basketball: Cats Roll to First-Round Bye

W.F. West’s Madi Haakenson (41) and Lexie Strasser block a shot from Wapiti’s Patricia Hickey during a state regional girls basketball game at Tumwater High School on Friday.

REGIONALS: Brumfield Scores 18 to Lead Quartet of Bearcats in Double-Figures in 69-50 Win Over Wapato

By Aaron VanTuyl

avantuyl@chronline.com

TUMWATER — One of coach Tom Kelly’s traditions as a coach, according to Bearcat guard Kiara Steen, is to take his team into the facility hosting a big game for a look around.

“And see if it smells. You know how you’ll go somewhere, and it’s humid? There’s different, like, air,” Steen said. “You gotta get used to it down there, and just be down there.”

There, in this case, is the Yakima, and the Bearcats now have all kinds of time to check the air, and the court, and the hoops on the hardwood at the SunDome — thanks to a big win here Friday night.

W.F. West kept its composure to pull away in the third quarter and hand Wapato a 69-50 loss in the regional playoffs, securing itself a bye on the loser-out first day of action next week at the State 2A Girls Basketball Tournament.

And, given the setup of the bracket, the Bearcats (20-4) won’t need to take the court until 9 p.m. on Thursday night.

W.F. West’s Julia Johnson tries to steal the ball from Wapato’s Janealle Sutterlict during a state regional girls basketball game at Tumwater High School on Friday.

“We’re so excited,” Steen added. “It’s prime time.”

Prime time on Friday night was the third quarter, when W.F. West switched to its Louisville half-court defense to slow up Wapato guards Tarryn Hart and Janealle Sutterlict.

W.F. West led 31-25 at halftime, but started to pull away with a 7-0 run — kicked off by a banked 3 from Maddie Fast — midway through the third.

“That was big time, right there,” Kelly said of the third period. “I thought we just regrouped and got it back together, because things were going good.”

Courtney Bennett and Shasta Lofgren hit back-to-back 3s late in the third, and Erika Brumfield scored 8 of her game-high 18 points — which came along with 15 rebounds — in the fourth to help W.F. West close out the win. Four of Brumfield’s points came in an 8-0 run in the final 2 minutes that only added to what had been a 13-point cushion.

“Brumfield played great,” Kelly pointed out. “She had a hell of a game.”

Rebounding was a priority against the smaller, but quick, Wolves. The Bearcats held a 49-29 advantage on the glass, with Lexie Strasser adding 12 boards.

Julia Johnson added 13 points, Steen finished with 12 and Lofgren — who closed the first quarter by tossing in a running 30-foot 3 — added 10.

Hart led Wapato with 15 points, and Sutterlict added 14. The Wolves, though, shot just 19 of 68 from the field (28 percent), and coaxed the Bearcats into 19 turnovers.

“It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but it was a big win,” Kelly said.

The Bearcats managed to balance it out down the stretch by going 17 of 25 at the foul line.

Due to the WIAA’s new regional format, the game didn’t carry the same weight as similar contests have over the past few years. Wapato (19-3), too, will still advance to Yakima, but will play either East Valley (Spokane) or Port Angeles in a loser-out game on Wednesday.

“We always put emphasis into every single game,” said Lofgren. “This one felt a little bigger, because it was to see if we were in single elimination or double elimination, but every game we come in with the amount of pressure on ourselves.”

Not that they’re about to take it easy at this point.

“It’s go time now. It’s not relaxed,” she said. “Next week is go time, for sure.”

W.F. West will play at 9 p.m. on Thursday night in Yakima, against the winner of a first-round game between Prosser and the loser of Saturday’s Black Hills/Archbishop Murphy regional game.
At Tumwater

BEARCATS 69, WOLVES 50

Wapato       10 15 12 13 —50

W.F. West 15 16 20 18 —69

Wapato (50) — Sutterlict 14, Aleck 4, Gonzalez 4, Garza 13, Hart 15

FG: 19 of 68 —.279 FT: 6 of 11 —.545 Reb. 29 (Aleck 7)

W.F. West (69) — Vadala 1, Johnson 13, Lofgren 10, Bennett 6, Brumfield 18, Steen 12, Fast 3, Strasser 6

FG: 23 of 57 —.404 FT: 17 of 25 —.680 Reb. 49

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