High School Basketball

Pioneers survive fourth-quarter comeback to advance to 1A semifinals

The Nooksack Valley girls’ basketball beat Zillah 51-42 on Thursday, March 3, at the Yakima Valley SunDome in the Class 1A State Quarterfinals.

With the win, the Pioneers move on to the state semifinals for the first time since 2001 and will face defending state champion King’s at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, March 4.

After trailing 9-6 at the end of the first quarter, Nooksack Valley out scored the Leopards 15-4 in the second to take a 21-13 halftime lead and stretched it to 38-27 by the end of the third.

But Zillah came back to make things interesting in the fourth, twice trimming Nooksack Valley’s lead to a single point, including 43-42 with 1:56 to play, after Samantha Bowman converted a 3-point play.

But Olivia Berkan came off the bench to answer with a 3-pointer with 1:45 to play, before she, Arlissa Oettell and Rachel Sande combined to hit five of eight free throws the rest of the way to put the game away.

Oettel led the way for the Pioneers with 16 points, while Katrina Gimmaka added 13.