SPOKANE — Free throws were the difference here Thursday at the Spokane Arena in opening round state Class 2B Hardwood Classic girls basketball action.
DeSales made 2-of-7 and Morton-White Pass connected on 15-of-17, and the Timberwolves marched into today’s semifinal with a 35-31 win over the Irish. Morton-White Pass faces Reardan, a 60-22 winner over White Swan Thursday, tonight at 7:15 p.m. for a berth in Saturday’s state championship game.
The Irish play White Swan today at 12:15 in a loser-out game. The winner heads to Saturday’s trophy round match-up.
“Hats off to them,” Irish coach Tim Duncan said. “They were 15-of-17 in the state tournament. Holy cow, that’s great free-throw shooting.”
Molli Lesko scored two buckets and Emily Baumgart hit a trey for the Irish in the first period.
The Timberwolves set the tone for this night, as Ashley Kelly hit all four of her free-throw attempts, the last two coming with two seconds left in the opening quarter, and M-WP took a 9-7 lead after one.
Brigit Lyons drained a trey to open the second period and cut the M-WP lead to 10-9.
With 2:20 till intermission, Lesko drained a trey to get DeSales within 16-15, but Whitney Elledge hit a free throw ith 27 seconds left to send M-WP to the break up 17-15.
Timberwolves were 7-of-8 from the line in the first 16 minutes.
Freshman Teresa Acock came off the Irish bench to hit two third-quarter 3-pointers and the Irish closed to within 23-22 to enter the fourth.
The Irish bench kept coming as Acock fed Claire Conley for two points and a 24-23 lead with 20 seconds gone in the fourth.
Following an Allesyn Lyons steal on the ensuing Timberwolf possession, Conley found Hannah Leahy cutting through the lane, and the Irish were up 26-23 at the seven-minute mark.
After Elledge got M-WP within 26-25 with a bucket, DeSales answered as Ashlyn Lyons dished to Acock, who converted to give her eight points in the second half and give the Irish a 28-25 lead.
“That whole lineup (off the bench) got us back into it,” Duncan said. “She (Acock) did a good job. Somebody has to find her, and they were smart enough to find her. She was really aggressive offensively, and hit a couple of 3s for us.
“We had a lot of substitutes on the floor at that time,” he said. “That group executed really well, and I liked what that lineup did.”
An Elledge bucket got M-WP within 28-27 with four minutes to play and the Timberwolves turned it over to their free-throw shooters. M-WP hit 6-of-7 from the charity stripe over the last two minutes, and got a bucket from Kelly, who scored 12 and hit 8-of-9 freebies, to close on a 10-3 run.
DeSales could only muster a 3-point play from Allison Wujek as the Irish dropped into today’s elimination game.
Acock and Lesko led the Irish with eight points each.
Elledge and Kelly led the T-wolves with 12 each.
M-WP won it at the line, but took advantage of an off night offensively from DeSales. The Irish hit only 12-of-48 from the field.
“We’ve missed shots inside all year,” Duncan said. “It’s been a bug-a-boo for us all year. Hopefully, one of these days, we’ll figure out how to knock them down. Tomorrow, (Friday) would be nice. We’ve got to bounce back.”
MORTON-WHITE PASS 35, DESALES 31
M-WP (35) — Elledge 4-13 3-4 12, Atkinson 0-8 0-0 0, Kelly 2-4 8-9 12, Allen 0-3 0-0 0, King 0-2 0-0 0, Hieronymi 3-10 4-4 11, Robbins 0-0 0-0 0, Eveland 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 9-41 15-17 35.
DESALES (31) — Baumgart 1-12 0-0 3, B. Lyons 1-3 0-0 3, Acock 3-7 0-0 8, Conley 1-3 0-2 2, Lesko 3-5 1-2 8, All. Lyons 0-2 0-0 0, Leahy 1-2 0-0 2, Ash. Lyons 1-6 0-2 2, Wujek 1-8 1-1 3. Totals 12-48 2-7 31.
M-WP 9 8 6 12 — 35
DeSales 7 8 7 9 — 31
3-pt goals — M-WP 2-15 (Elledge 1-3, Atkinson 0-5, Allen 0-3, King 0-2, Hieronymi 1-2), DeS 5-22 (Baumgart 1-8, B. Lyons 1-3, Acock 2-5, Lesko 1-2, Leahy 0-1, Ash. Lyons 0-3). Total fouls — M-WP 9, DeS 13. Fouled out — none. Technicals — none. Rebounds — M-WP 36 (Hieronymi 8), DeS 33 (Ash. Lyons 6). Turnovers — M-WP 14, DeS 19. Assists — M-WP 3 (Atkinson, King, Hieronymi), DeS 6 (Leahy 2).