With a first-half eruption, Montesano’s girls ascended to a familiar perch — and moved to within striking distance of an elusive target.
Jordan Spradlin scored 21 points in a 53-point first half as the Bulldogs walloped Stevenson, 69-26, in the opening round of the District IV Class 1A Girls Basketball Tournament on Friday, Feb. 10, at Bo Griffith Memorial Gym.
The Bulldogs (18-3) faced Evergreen 1A League rival Hoquiam, an upset overtime winner over Seton Catholic on Friday, in a semifinal contest on Feb. 14 at Montesano. The results of that game were not available when The Vidette went to press. The winner advances to the district championship game Feb. 18 and clinches a regional berth.
It is the fifth successive year Montesano has advanced to the district semis — a streak that actually preceded the arrival of this year’s talented senior class.
Due to a change in the state’s regional/state format, a Monte win on Tuesday would contain an added bonus. As the fifth-ranked Class 1A team in the state’s RPI index, the Bulldogs would be assured a place in the double-elimination phase of regionals if they survive district and would thus be guaranteed at least one game at state.
Montesano’s girls are seeking their first state appearance since 1999.
In addition to her scoring output, the 6-foot-1 Spradlin yanked down 16 rebounds (10 of those offensive) and was perhaps conservatively credited with three blocked shots.
Knocking down five 3-pointers in the first half, Josie Toyra added 17 points for Monte.
Although the 53-16 halftime score would scarcely suggest it, Montesano’s Bulldogs (Stevenson has the same mascot) took a few minutes to find a rhythm in their half-court offense.
But by dominating the offensive glass and forcing 18 first-half turnovers, they could afford the luxury of a few missed shots.
“We did a really good job of pressuring the ball and forcing some turnovers,” Monte coach Julie Graves noted. “That led to some early offense.”
Left alone by a Stevenson defense that was double-teaming Spradlin, senior point guard Cheyann Bartlett contributed two buckets and a pair of free throws to a game-opening 15-0 run. Then Toyra warmed up, concluding the first quarter with a pair of threes that produced a 25-7 advantage.
Doing most of her damage on putbacks and foul shots, Spradlin tallied 16 points in the second quarter.
Toyra provided a fitting climax to the first half by banking in about a 30-foot heave at the buzzer — a shot that left the senior wing with an expression of utter disbelief.
Shayla Floch’s basket at the 6:40 mark of the third quarter triggered the 40-point running-clock mercy rule. Spradlin left the floor for good midway through the period and reserves played exclusively in the fourth quarter.
Six-two freshman Zoe Hutchings, seeing extensive action off the bench, had eight points and 13 rebounds for Monte.
Floch led Montesano playmakers with four assists. Bartlett and Toyra each swiped three steals.
Anya St. Martin topped Stevenson (7-12) with 10 points.
Stevenson 7 9 4 6 — 26 Montesano 25 28 10 6 — 69
Stevenson (26) — Emerson, Rathgeber, Hobbs 2, O’Mahoney 9, P. Campbell, St. Martin 10, A. Campbell 3, Blackledge, Brannan 2, Zapfe, Zolpin, Reed. FG — 10-43 (.233). FT — 5-10.
Montesano (69) — Bartlett 6, Talley 4, Toyra 17, Floch 8, Spradlin 23, Hutchings 8, Quinn 1, Lovell, Ekerson, Granstrom 2, Grubb, Perkinson. FG — 24-68 (.353). FT — 16-26.