Sometimes the shots don’t fall, but defense is all about hard work.
On Friday, Mt. Spokane had to lean on its defense when its all-stars were finding it tough to put the ball through the hoop.
Three players shared the team lead with eight points each, and the top-seeded Wildcats held off visiting Hermiston 43-35 in a District 8 3A semifinal.
Mt. Spokane (17-3) plays Kennewick, a 73-60 winner over Kamiakin in the other semi, in the district title game at Toyota Center in Kennewick on Friday.
Recently named the Greater Spokane League Most Valuable Player Jayda Noble finished with eight points and 12 rebounds, while Gracey Neal and Sophia Bertotti-Metoyer added eight apiece.
“We got it done,” Mt. Spokane coach David Pratt said. “We felt like we just didn’t do the little things really well today. We played hard, but we didn’t play smart today.”
After Mt. Spokane built a double-digit lead in the third quarter, a 3-pointer by Hermiston’s Madison Feigum cut the Mt. Spokane lead to six midway through the fourth.
That’s when Mt. Spokane turned up the defensive pressure. They forced a shot-clock violation, then Neal scored on a backdoor cut off a feed from Noble.
The Wildcats forced another violation and Emma Main – who finished well below her average with five points – hit both ends of a 1-and-1 to get the lead back to 10 with just over 2 minutes left.
“I think all-league players like her get things done, you know?” Pratt said of Main. “We talked on the bench, like, ‘Tonight might not be your best night but we still got to find a way to make it happen.’”
Noble swiped a steal and the Wildcats ran out the rest of the clock.
The Wildcats led 13-7 after a slow first quarter. Mt. Spokane took advantage of its size in the second quarter, feeding Bertotti-Metoyer and Neal for inside baskets and the lead grew to 25-16 at intermission.
Mt. Spokane was able to get the lead to 11 early in the third after a 3 by frosh Destiny Kamalu-Vargas and a short jumper by Noble.
“I feel like we we got stuff done that we needed to at times,” Pratt said. “We did hold them to 39 or whatever, but we did our job defensively.”
Hermiston (14-8) plays Kamiakin on Friday in a loser-out.
District 7 2A
Clarkston 61, Cheney 43 : Ashlyn Wallace scored 27 points and the third-seeded Bantams (15-6) defeated the fourth-seeded Blackhawks (8-13) in the first round.
Avery Stark scored 12 points for Cheney.
Clarkston plays East Valley in a semifinal on Saturday.
East Valley 69, Pullman 53: Brie Holecek scored 23 points and the second-seeded Knights (17-4) beat the visiting fifth-seeded Greyhounds (3-18).
Hailey Chittenden scored 14 to lead Pullman. Ellie Stowell added 18 for East Valley.
District 7 1A
Freeman 44, Colville 43: Anna Chisholm hit two go-ahead free throws with 7 seconds left and the top-seeded Scotties (19-2) beat the fourth-seeded Indians (12-10) in a District 7 1A semifinal game at West Valley HS.
Sorrel Aldendorf scored 12 points to lead Freeman. Mckenna Reggear scored 10 for Colville.
Freeman plays Deer Park in the title game on Wednesday.
Deer Park 41, Medical Lake 34: Havelah Fairbanks scored 15 points and the second-seeded Stags (17-5) beat the visiting third-seeded Cardinals (10-13). Ellie Acord scored 14 points to lead Medical Lake, which faces Colville in a loser-out on Wednesday.
District 9 1B
Pomeroy 39, Garfield-Palouse 29: The top-seeded Pirates (19-1) beat the fourth-seeded Vikings (12-8) in a District 9 1B first-round game. Pomeroy faces Oakesdale in the district title game on Friday.
Oakesdale 51, Colton 34: Julie Baljo scored 20 points and the second-seeded Nighthawks (15-5) beat the visiting third-seeded Wildcats (14-7). Rylee Vining scored 12 points to lead Colton, which takes on Garfield-Palouse in a loser-out on Friday.
Sandpoint 48, Lakeland 41: The host Bulldogs (16-7) beat the Hawks (8-15) in Game 2 of the District 1-2 4A championship series to earn a bid to state.