By Dan Trujillo
A feisty pack of Panthers came out of the locker room after halftime and jumped up by 20 points in the Longview Lumberdome Monday.
Beyonce Bea led the offensive and defensive outburst with 12 points, 10 rebounds, six rebounds and four steals. Her sister, Skylar, added 11 points and six rebounds. Maggie Hungerford chipped in 10 points and five assists. This led to a satisfying, 66-48 victory for Washougal in the first league game of the season.
“We wanted to come out and start league off the right way and show that we can play and just build our confidence,” Beyonce Bea said. “The first half was definitely better than the first. We all settled down and started playing our game. We all worked as a team and it worked really well for us.”
Emilee Smart got the hot hand early for Washougal and scored five points. Hungerford fed the Panthers a few assists and delivered eight points of her own in the first half.
“It just felt good every time I released it, and so I kept shooting,” Hungerford said. “Our team was struggling a little bit, energy wise. I just wanted to come off the bench and hype us up, a little bit.”
Washougal scored 17 points in the second quarter, but so did R.A. Long. The Panthers led by only seven at halftime. Something needed to change.
“It seemed like we were more offensively focused in the first half. We just had to turn it around in the second half and focus on defense and crashing the boards,” said Washougal head coach Britney Knotts. “We had a lot of girls who were ready to step in and step up, which is what we needed.”
Ashley Gibbons jump started the attack with a 3-pointer. Beyonce Bea grabbed an offensive rebound, and nailed a turnaround jumper in front of a defender for two more points. Kiara Cross then fired crisp pass to Skylar Bea on her way to the hoop. Bea made the basket, drew a foul from the defender and netted the foul shot for a 3-point play.
Beyonce Bea scored two more points off an offensive rebound. She then drew the eyes of the defender on a fast break, kicked the ball out to Cross behind the arc and she drained a three to give the Panthers a 14-point lead heading into the third quarter.
A few minutes into the fourth, Beyonce put Washougal up by 20. She thanked her teammates for having her back when the Lumberjills keyed in on her early.
“Everyone is going to double team me. For them to get experience hitting shots benefits all of us in the long run,” Bea said. “When the defense comes to me, we have another option. It’s not just a one, or two person team. We have more threats on offense and defense, and that’s exciting.”
Washougal (5-3) won the league championship last season, took third at districts and reached the consolation semifinals of the state tournament.
The Panthers hope to build on this good feeling in Longview when they play at Ridgefield Wednesday. Tip off is at 7 pm.
“I want to see two good halves, not just one. I want to put a full game together,” Knotts said. “We do that, and we’re unstoppable.”
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Photos by Dan Trujillo