The Nooksack Valley girls’ basketball team will be moving to state regionals after defeating University Prep 35-27 in a Class 1A Bi-District elimination game Saturday, Feb. 21, at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Katrina Gimmaka and Brianna Turner led the Pioneers with 11 points apiece and Mariah Perry added six points with eight steals.
The Pioneers broke away from University Prep with a 12-6 second quarter behind 10 points from Turner and Gimmaka combined.
“I think we were moving the ball well. We got into the paint and hit post shots that quarter,” Wichers said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well. But but we got the ball inside and finished in that quarter.”
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Nooksack Valley showed its defensive abilities in the first half, holding University Prep to 13 points in the entire half and taking an 18-13 lead into halftime.
“Defense is what won the game for us,” Nooksack Valley coach Shane Wichers said in a phone interview. “We were able to force some turnovers and get stops. That was key for us. We have very good defensive stops to turn them (University Prep) over and we hit enough baskets down the stretch to win.”
The Pioneers, despite being outrebounded 36-22, won the defensive battle by forcing the Pumas to commit 24 turnovers in the game.
“Payton Linville did a good job guarding their best player. Defensively she played nice,” Wichers said. “Mariah got a lot of steals and deflections. To give yourself the opportunity in transition is big.”
Although Nooksack Valley didn’t play its best game of the season, the winning effort was enought to secure a spot in the state regionals next week.
“We haven’t been there for a few years,” Wichers said, “it’s a great opportunity for the kids and I’m excited they get another chance to play next week.”
The Pioneers will find out their opponent, time and place of their state regional game on Sunday, Feb. 22.
Nooksack Valley 35, University Prep 27
Nooksack Valley: Arlissa Oettel 2, Payton Linville 2, Mariah Perry 6, Emelia Gimmaka 0, Olivia Berkan 0, Katrina Gimmaka 11, Brianna Turner 11, Lacey Johnson 3. Totals: 16-53 3-7 35.
University Prep: Cleo Selander 0, Erica Ng 0, Melissa Funes 14, Story Bernstein 2, India Jencks 0, Sammi Khangaonkar 4, Tessa de Vries 0, Lindsay Wilson 7. Totals: 12-47 1-9 27.
3-point field goals — Nooksack Valley: 0 (No leader); University Prep: 2 (Wilson, Funes 1). Rebounds — Nooksack Valley: 22 (E. Gimmaka, Turner 6); University Prep: 36 (No leader). Assists — Nooksack Valley: 7 (Perry 3); University Prep: no information provided. Fouls — Nooksack Valley: 11; University Prep: 14 (Jencks). Turnovers — Nooksack Valley: 15; University Prep: 24.