EAST WENATCHEE – It didn’t take long to see why White Swan is one of the top-rated girls basketball teams in the state.
The Cougars’ physical full court press took its toll on Oroville early as they scored the game’s first 13 points. The Hornets settled down and played far better against the White Swan defense over the final three quarters of Monday’s 53-30 loss in the opening round of the Class 2B District 5/6 tournament, but the damage had been done.
“Wow, was that a physical team,” said Oroville coach Mike Bourn. “We kind of got the deer-in-the-headlights look for awhile. I like how we competed. The girls didn’t quit and had times when we had some success. That team may be better than Brewster; they’re certainly deeper and more physical than they are.”
The Hornets pulled to within 22-11 in the second quarter and twice had the ball with a chance to get the deficit under 10, but White Swan star Amber Jones scored off a turnover and followed that with a 3-pointer seconds later for a 27-11 White Swan lead.
Sparked by Callie Barker’s fearless drives into the paint, the Hornets kept the game from getting out of hand in the second half as the Cougars outscored them 22-19 in the final two quarters.
In fact, Bourn’s biggest complaint of the night wasn’t even about his own game. After Entiat upset Lake Roosevelt 58-49, dumping the Raiders into the consolation bracket, the Hornets were faced with a third meeting against what had been one of the tournament favorites.
“We had a good plan put together for Entiat,” Bourn said. “Lake Roosevelt is better than what they played tonight. A lot of what happens (Wednesday) will be what kind of attitude LR comes into that game with. We showed we could play with them when we had Kelsey (Hughes, out for the season with a knee injury). If they play the way they did tonight against Entiat, we have a good shot at them.”
If the Hornets were able to upset LR on Wednesday, they face a loser-out, winner-to-state game on Friday, Feb. 17.
Barker scored nine points and Lily Hilderbrand scored eight for the Hornets (11-10).
Amber Jones paced White Swan with 16.
Oroville 55, Liberty Bell 25
LIBERTY BELL – Lily Hilderbrand scored 21 points and pulled down 13 rebounds while Naomi Peters added 20 points as the Hornets outscored Liberty Bell in every quarter of a 55-25 victory on Feb. 9.
With the victory, Oroville wrapped up a fourth place finish in CWL North Division play with a 6-6 league mark.
Lake Roosevelt 56, Oroville 24
OROVILLE – The Hornets did what they could to keep Lake Roosevelt stars Dominique Pleasants and Jada Desautel from beating them on Senior Night, Tuesday, Feb. 7.
The Raiders showed they were more than their star guards, racing to a 15-3 lead behind the inside scoring of Roweena Antone and rolling to a 56-24 victory over the Hornets on Senior Night.
It wasn’t that the Hornets played poorly; in the opening quarter they avoided turning the ball over and got quality looks at the basket. The ball just wouldn’t go in, and instead of trailing, say, 15-11 after one quarter, the Hornets had a huge hole to climb out of.
“We did a lot of the right things; we just couldn’t buy a basket,” Bourn said. “Speiker did a nice job on Desautel and Naomi did a good job on Pleasants, but they had other kids step up.”
The Hornets’ cold shooting continued in the second quarter while the Raiders hit a number of very difficult shots, extending their lead to 31-8 at the half.
“We played a lot better than the score,” Bourn said. “Not well enough to beat them, but better than it seems.”
Hilderbrand scored 10 points and had 12 rebounds, while Peters added six points.