Instant: Napavine tops Okanogan to win 2B state title


In the biggest moment of perhaps the Napavine girls basketball team's history, Hayden Kaut delivered a game-winning 3-pointer to lift the Tigers to their first 2B state championship in program history on Saturday, March 2 over Okanogan. The Tigers scored the final five points of the game to win 41-40 and clinch the trophy.

Turnovers far outnumbered the points early in the first quarter, as both teams turned it over a combined seven times before any tallies hit the scoreboard. Dakota Hamilton finally gave Napavine its first bucket with a jumper 3 minutes and 26 seconds in.

The lids were eventually lifted from both baskets, as the Tigers converted on multiple trips, including a Hamilton triple. After leading 12-6 through the first quarter, the Bulldogs raced in front with 10 unanswered points, including two 3-pointers from Jacey Boesel. Hamilton drilled her second 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to push the Tigers back into the lead, 19-18, at the break. She led all scorers with 10 points in the first half.

Okanogan retook the lead early in the third before Napavine closed the third quarter with a 13-2 run. The Tigers took their biggest lead of the night thanks to a triple from Jessie McCoy and a layup from Keira O'Neill, giving them a 34-26 lead entering the fourth quarter. Napavine's defense forced 15 Okanogan turnovers through the first three quarters.

The feisty Bulldogs made it interesting early in the fourth,  blitzing the Tigers  with five forced turnovers and a 9-1 run to draw within a point. Camryn Ashworth lit up the Okanogan crowd with a putback layup to give the Bulldogs a 37-36 lead. Addison Brown's triple after yet another Napavine turnover pushed the lead to four with 81 seconds left. 

 Kaut banked in a layup to make it 40-38 with just over a minute remaining,  and the Tigers' defense forced a shot clock violation with 30 seconds left. She then delivered a cold-blooded 3-pointer with 13.5 seconds left to put Napavine back in front, 41-40.  Kaut had only scored three points before the two late field goals.

Charlee Buchert's desperation heave fell short for Okanogan, and the Tigers rushed the floor as they celebrated their first state championship in program history. Napavine finished its banner season with a 25-3 record and hoisted the first-place trophy in its 17th appearance in the state tournament.