By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
TACOMA — It was a tale of two halves, and in the first half the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors were very good in their 4A state girls basketball tournament opener at the Tacoma Dome.
Alas, the undefeated Auburn Riverside Ravens were very good in the half that counted most.
Shrugging off a four-point halftime deficit, Auburn Riverside pulled away in the decisive third quarter and went on to a 51-39 victory over the Warriors on Wednesday, improving their season record to 26-0.
The Ravens spotted Edmonds-Woodway the first field goal of the second half, but from there they went on a 17-1 scoring run to take the game in hand. The margin reached a high of 16 points, 47-31, with 2½ minutes to play in the game.
“The third quarter was bad,” acknowledged Warriors head coach Duane Hodges, whose team slipped to 22-3.
Offensively in the second half, he went on, “we had some decent shots, but we really didn’t hit anything. If you can’t hit free throws and if you can’t hit open 3s when you get them, you’re not going to win any games.”
The Warriors started the game well, jumping to an 8-2 lead and a 10-5 margin after one period. Forward Ashley Albertson had an early hot hand, scoring eight points in the opening quarter.
Auburn Riverside, which missed its first eight attempts from the field, finally crept back and nabbed its first lead, 16-15, midway through the second period. But in the next two minutes, Edmonds-Woodway dropped in consecutive 3-point goals from guard Madeline Kasper, forward Angela Woods and forward Sydney Donaldson, and the scoring burst helped the Warriors to a 24-20 edge at halftime.
“I was real pleased with the first half,” Hodges said.
In the second half, though, Auburn Riverside began to assert itself defensively. The Ravens tightened their pressure on the perimeter, but also had the quickness to keep Edmonds-Woodway from driving to the basket.
“They did a great job of extending their pressure out to where we normally shoot (3-pointers),” Hodges said. “Usually when teams go out there, we can blow past them to penetrate. But they extended the pressure and they didn’t let us punish them with penetration.
“They weren’t going to let Angela or Syd or anybody get an open look,” he said.
And the looks the Warriors did get, they had trouble converting, particularly at the 3-point line. Edmonds-Woodway went 0-for-7 from beyond the arc in the third quarter, and then missed its first four tries of the final period. Kasper finally ended the drought with her second 3 of the game, but the Warriors were just 1-for-14 shooting 3s in the second half.
Albertson finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Warriors.
Wing Kathleen Cooper led Auburn Riverside with 18 points, including 11 in the second half when she was 5-for-6 from the field. Guard Mercedes Whitmore, a University of Washington recruit, had 15 points to go with seven rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and a steal.
“We held (Wetmore) in check, sort of,” Hodges said. “But I thought Cat Cooper was probably the difference. She didn’t miss in the second half. Her mid-range jumper was good.”
Edmonds-Woodway drops into the loser’s bracket, and will play Federal Way, a 43-40 loser against Chiawana, in a loser-out game today at 10:30 a.m.
During the days of practice leading up to the tournament, “I never mentioned anything about winning state,” Hodges said. “My goal is to play on the fourth day and win. And right now that means fifth place, which is a good goal.”
At Tacoma Dome
Edmonds-Woodway—Kasper 8, Nash 2, Kenney 1, Albertson 16, Donaldson 5, Woods 7. Auburn Riverside—Wetmore 15, Hinkens 4, Jenkins 8, Pretz 6, Cooper 18. 3-point goals—Kasper 2, Donaldson 1, Woods 1, Jenkins 1, Pretz 1, Cooper 1. Records—Edmonds-Woodway is 22-3. Auburn Riverside is 26-0.