Tigers rout Pirates to advance to state title game


SPOKANE — When Adna topped Napavine in January in a C2BL matchup, Napavine coach Shane Schutz could tell that the Pirates were fired up early.

“I could tell Adna came ready to beat us,” Napavine coach Shane Schutz said. “That lived with us for a while.”

The two teams didn’t meet again in the regular season or district tournament, but Napavine’s chance to avenge that loss finally came on Friday. The stakes were bigger this time around, as the victor would be heading to the 2B State Championship Game on Saturday.

What was expected to be an exciting rematch in the state semifinals quickly turned into a rout, as the Tigers held the Pirates scoreless for over seven minutes and ran away with a 57-33 win to advance to the title game.

“I did not have to get my kids motivated for this game,” Schutz said. “The girls wanted this game, and I wanted this game. These girls have played together so long, I just knew we were better. And we showed that tonight … It was just a total team effort.”

The top-seeded Tigers were nearly perfect defensively in the first quarter, as they held the Pirates without points for the first 7:24 of the game. In that stretch, No. 3 Adna missed each of their first 12 shots.

Napavine only scored four points in the first four and a half minutes, but they scored six in a hurry to push the lead to 10-0.

“Coaching wise, I should’ve burnt (a timeout) probably to just settle us down,” Adna coach Chris Bannish said. “But at the same time, it wasn’t like they were burning the socks off of it.”

Keira O’Neill and Hayden Kaut helped the Tigers push the lead to 15, as the duo combined for 19 points in the first half.

As a team, Adna shot just 4 for 27 in the first half. Karsyn Freeman, who scored 27 points in the first half of the Pirates’ quarterfinal win over Toutle Lake, was held scoreless in the first two frames.

“Taylen (Evander) was incredible on Freeman,” Schutz said. “Freeman is one of the elite scorers at the 2B level, and she did a great job.”

Any chance of a comeback was erased in the third, when Kaut drilled three 3-pointers to help extend the Napavine lead to 28.

Kaut hit five of seven 3-pointers and finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds, while O’Neill added 14 points and 11 rebounds. Evander dished out eight rebounds and scored four points. Dakota Hamilton added nine points and seven rebounds.

Bannish felt that after the early start, the Pirates began to press, and that led to poor execution on both ends of the floor.

“That was the most undisciplined we’ve been all year,” Bannish said. “Everything we talked about this morning, scouting wise, we did the opposite it seemed like … The attention to detail wasn’t there today.”

Danika Hallom led the Pirates with 11 points, while Kendall Humphrey scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds.

While Adna can no longer win a state championship, it will have the chance to finish third with a win over Mabton in the 3rd/5th game on Saturday.

A third-place finish would match the 2011-12 Pirates for the best finish in school history.

“We have no chance to sit back and feel sorry for ourselves,” Bannish said. “We just gotta stick together and get back at it.”

Napavine will play for the 2B title for the fourth time in school history, and the Tigers are hoping to bring home the championship trophy for the first time in school history.

They lost each of their first three trips to the title game, first losing back-to-back in 2008 and 2009, and then losing in 2016. It’ll be a rematch of the 2016 title game, as the Tigers will go up against No. 3 Okanogan at 5 p.m.

“You can’t be happy to be there,” Schutz said. “You gotta come ready to compete … Here we go. Let’s have some fun.”