Lewis County commissioners celebrate Napavine’s basketball state title


After securing the first state title in program history, the Napavine girls basketball team was lauded by the Lewis County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning as “one of those classic examples of where teamwork makes the dream work.”

“Because none of you could get to this level without everyone else working together,”  Commissioner Lindsey Pollock said as the team was formally recognized by the county commissioners at the Lewis County Courthouse.

“We are so appreciative, and thank you for bringing home a state championship to Lewis County,” Commissioner Scott Brummer said.

A game-winning 3-pointer by sophomore Hayden Kaut with 16.6 seconds on the clock lifted the Tigers over Okanogan for their first 2B State Championship in program history on Saturday, March 2, with the Tigers ending the game on a  

5-0 run to clinch the trophy at the Spokane Arena.

“For us, it was a dream, I think, when the buzzer went off. When Hayden Kaut hit that 3, it became a hard reality,” Napavine coach Shane Schutz said Tuesday. “And a really good reality of what these kids accomplished.”

While the shot secured a championship trophy for Navapine, the commissioners further cemented Kaut’s place in Napavine athletics history with a plaque.

“I’ve probably watched that shot 20 times, and it’s just amazing because it was a tough game. You were double-teamed almost the entire game,” Commissioner Sean Swope said. “But when it mattered most, you came through. You were clutch. That’s how legends are made.”

Standing in the commissioners’ chambers on Tuesday, Schutz noted a portrait of the late Lewis County Commissioner Gary Stamper, who led the Mossyrock Vikings girls basketball team to a state 2B Championship in 2007. Stamper died from COVID-19 while still in office in 2021.

“He and I coached against each other for several years and had great battles on the court,” Schutz said. “To be able to be the next Washington team to follow his success, it’s an honor.”

Coaching for more than two decades, Schutz said the team’s camaraderie and “family approach” stands out.

“I’m very proud of what they’ve accomplished, and I’m really happy to be able to accomplish this after everything they’ve gone through,” Schutz said.

The roster of the 2024 Napavine Tigers included:

• Junior Jessie McCoy

• Sophomore Hayden Kaut

• Senior Grace Gall

• Senior Dakota Hamilton

• Sophomore Clara Fay

• Senior Avery Schutz

• Junior Grace Pancake

• Freshman Nicholle Valentine

• Sophomore Taylen Evander

• Senior Keira O’Neill

• Sophomore Hannah Fay

• Freshman Lilly Grabianowski

• Eighth grader Madelyn Stroup

• Eighth grader Mya Garrett

• Freshman Alexis Schutz

• Eighth grader Briley Fay

• Sophomore Clara Fay

• Eighth grader Ember Cagle

• Eighth grader Ava Ondong

• Eighth grader Aubrey Williams

• Freshman Jayla Egnkraf