Shane Wichers wanted his Nooksack Valley Pioneers to play defending champion Kings at a slow pace Friday, March 4, in the Class 1A girls state semifinals to try and offset the Knights athleticism. Like water dripping from a faucet.
That tempo worked great for three periods, but once the faucet turned on, their was no stopping it, or the Knights, as King’s knocked off the Pioneers, 50-37, at the SunDome.
The loss puts Nooksack Valley into the third-place game against Granger at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 5.
Wichers hoped that his crew could slow down the Knights one-two punch off Daylee Hanson and Anna Parker, and in large part they did.
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“We said this morning that we wanted to make someone else beat us,” assistant coach Dennis Anderson said.
Unfortunately for the Pioneers, Kendall Adams was up to the task. The 5-foot-9 senior scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for King’s.
“We held Hanson to six points, which is what we wanted,” Wichers said. But we got into deep foul trouble trying to stop the other players from going to the rim.
“We haven’t played a team with that many kids who want to get to the rim,” Wichers continued. “Some of it was a position thing. Kids don’t want to get beat; when they do, they reach.”
The Pioneers were tentative early in the contest, scoring just four points in the first period but holding King’s to eight. But Nooksack Valley was in foul trouble early and often – being whistled for 12 fouls in each half – and finished the game with two starters disqualified.
The Pioneers trailed by only four points going into the final period. But a 23-14 Knights run in the final quarter sealed the deal.
Turnovers were also a problem the entire night. The Pioneers had 24.
“Their ball pressure was very good,” Wichers said. “We were very hesitant early and then in the second quarter we started attacking them.
“We had some bench kids come in and do a really good job.”
Emilia Gimmaka had nine points and six rebounds off the bench for the Pioneers.
King’s 50, Nooksack Valley 37
King’s: Nielsen 0, Kendall Adams 22, H. Echelbarger 9, Hanson 6, Anna Parker 13, Kispert 0, A. Echelbarger 0.
Nooksack Valley: Oettel 4, Tenkley 0, Berkan 6, K. Gimmaka 9, Turner 3, Sande 4, Zavala 2, E Gimmaka 9.