Loss to East Valley Ends Bearcats’ Run
STATE: Standout Four-Year Career Comes to a Close for W.F. West Seniors Waring, McCallum, Vadala
By Aaron VanTuyl
For The Chronicle
YAKIMA — W.F. West coach Kyle Karnofski couldn’t help but get a tad bit misty-eyed talking about his team and, in particular, his trio of seniors.
The Bearcats’ season came to a close here Friday morning in the consolation round of the 2A state girls basketball tournament, but the first-year coach could appreciate what his squad accomplished — even in the wake of a tough 52-41 loss to East Valley (Yakima).
“I asked them to buy in, and that’s all I could ask for, and they did it,” Karnofski said. “They were great, and gritty, all year. I wouldn’t trade them for anybody — just the quirkiness, the goofiness, the fun times.”
The loss concludes a season in which the Bearcats went 18-8, finished second in the District 4 tournament, and were a game away from taking home a state trophy.
East Valley (18-8) will play Ellensburg — the same Ellensburg team the Bearcats beat 60-47 in regionals — at 8 a.m. Saturday morning.
The Red Devils made their living at the free-throw line Friday morning, hitting 16 of 27 in the second half alone to pull away in the fourth quarter.
W.F. West, though, was down just 32-30 after a bucket from Drea Brumfield to open the fourth quarter.
“It just kind of came down to making some shots,” Karnofski said. “We’ve just got to make some shots, and that’s what it was.”
W.F. West shot 5 of 24 from the field in the second half, and started to lose its grip on the outcome midway through the fourth. Maggie Vadala, one of the Bearcats’ three seniors, fouled out with 3:24 left to play, and a bucket from Bryana Barry put the Red Devils up 41-32 with 2:40 to go.
A minute later a pair of technical foul free throws gave East Valley a 45-35 lead.
“We were starting to foul at the end, but you make a couple — we were down five for a long time,” Karnofski said. “That’s kind of what it was yesterday, too. It comes down to making a shot, making a play.”
Ashlynn Sylve scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead East Valley, with Karina Hibbitt scoring 13 — which included a 3-pointer at the first half buzzer that put the Red Devils up 27-23.
Annika Waring led the Bearcats with 10 points and added seven rebounds. Taya McCallum added nine points and seven boards, and Vadala and Brumfield each scored seven.
It was the final game for Waring, McCallum and Vadala. Waring scored her 800th career point in Friday’s game, and Vadala wrapped her career as the Bearcats’ all-time assist leader. All three played on W.F. West’s 2018 state championship team, and during their four-year career the Bearcats played in Yakima, and in the District 4 finals, four times.
“That’s a heck of a resume. That’s a legacy,” Karnofski said. “Obviously the foundation was set many, many years ago, with those big runs they had, and these girls kept it going. You can’t ask for anything more than that.”
RED DEVILS 52, BEARCATS 41
E. Valley 10 17 5 20 —52
W.F. West 12 11 5 13 —41
East Valley (52) — Harrington 3, Livingston 9, Hibbitt 13, Barry 3, Sylve 24
FG: 13 of 41 —.317 FT: 20 of 32 —.625 Reb. 34 (Sylve 10)
W.F. West (41) — Vadala 7, Brumfield 7, Mencke 8, Waring 10, T. McCallum 9
FG: 11 of 43 —.256 FT: 12 of 19 —.632 Reb. 35 (Waring, McCallum 7)