SPOKANE — A late trey and clutch free-throw shooting by Napavine sent DeSales home with the sixth-place trophy on the final day of the WIAA Class 2B girls state basketball tournament at the Spokane Arena.
The Irish led 22-17 at the half, but the Tigers put together an 11-6 fourth-period to pull out a 38-33 win.
Napavine earned fourth place with the win.
DeSales adds their sixth-place trophy to an eighth-place finish in 2004 and a fifth-place run in 2005.
Claire Conley’s bucket with 30 seconds to play in the first pulled the Irish even after one at 11-11.
Behind the play of Ashlyn Lyons, who had three points, two assists, and two rebounds in the second quarter, the Irish outscored the Tigers 11-6 to grab a 22-17 lead at the break.
In building the lead, DeSales’ defense limited the Tigers to 5-of-29 shooting from the floor in the first half.
“That first half was some of our best basketball,” Irish coach Tim Duncan said. “(Allison) Wujek got in foul trouble (three in the first quarter), Ashlyn tweaked her ankle, and we had some kids step up and really play well. Our first half was stellar.”
DeSales opened the second half on a 5-0 mini run. Emily Baumgart scored a deuce, Wujek converted three-of-four free-throw opportunities, and with 5:50 left in the third period DeSales led 27-17.
Napavine went on a 13-0 run over the next 10:50 and, on a Demi Sahlinger pull-up jumper, took the lead 29-27 with 5:20 to play.
The Irish got some tough rolls during that stretch, but finally got the lid off the basket as Wujek connected off an Ashlyn Lyons dish to get DeSales within 30-29 with 3:00 left.
“You tell me what happened,” Duncan told reporters. “It was like there was a lid half-way down. We had five or six (shots) that we just couldn’t believe they came out. That’s basketball.”
Sage Atkins buried a 3 for the Tigers with 1:20 left and the Tigers had some daylight at 33-29.
Wujek answered with a put-back for a 33-31 Tiger advantage with 26 seconds left.
The Irish had to foul and picked the wrong Tiger.
Demi Sahlinger, who came in averaging a shade over 20 points per game, hit 5-of-6 free throws over the last 25 seconds to ice the Tiger 38-33 win.
With senior Brigit Lyons doing most of the heavy work defensively on Sahlinger, the Tigers’ leading scorer was frustrated into a 5-of-22 shooting night over three periods as the Tigers and Irish entered the final eight minutes even at 27-27.
On the strength of her free-throw streak at the end, Sahlinger finished game-high 21.
“It was my responsibility (to guard Sahlinger),” Brigit Lyons said. “I had to stay tough and keep on her, and I got help from my team.”
“Oh my gosh, (Brigit Lyons) frustrated the heck out of (Sahlinger),” Duncan said. “Brigit had some shin problems, but I’ve never seen anyone defend the ball like she does. I don’t care what level you’re talking about.”
Ashlyn Lyons led the Irish with 10 points and three assists. Wujek finished with nine points and a team-high eight rebounds.
The sixth-place finish marks the end of Irish careers for Brigit Lyons, the injured Abby Crowley, and Gabby Lizardi.
“Abby had a great year,” said Duncan of Crowley, who broke her leg in the final game of the regular season. “If she was here playing, that would’ve helped us a lot. Brigit became a better basketball player. Gabby didn’t get a lot of playing time, but she’s always worked hard and we appreciated her efforts.”
For the Irish, however, it was about more than the wins and loses.
“It is my first time up here (State), it has been amazing,” Brigit Lyons said. “It was a great experience and we did really well up here. I have great memories. I’ve enjoyed every minute.”
“I’m not hanging my head (over the loss),” Duncan said. “(My team) will for a bit. We had a chance for history because no team has finished higher than fifth.
“We didn’t quite get that, but we still got a trophy and there are only three of them in the girls’ program.”
NAPAVINE 38, DESALES 33
DESALES (33) — Baumgart 2-5 0-0 4, B. Lyons 0-4 0-0 0, Acock 1-7 0-3 2, Conley 2-3 0-0 4, Lesko 1-1 0-0 2, All. Lyons 0-4 0-0 0, Wujek 3-9 3-4 9, Leahy 1-1 0-0 2, Ash. Lyons 3-12 2-2 10. Totals 13-46 5-6 33.
NAPAVINE (38) — Erven 0-1 0-0 0, Sahlinger 6-25 8-10 21, Dekoker 0-5 3-4 3, Hamre 0-5 0-0 0, Brown 1-11 2-3 4, Peters 4-12 0-1 9, Atkins 0-2 1-3 1. Totals 11-61 14-21 38.
DeSales 11 11 5 6 — 33
Napavine 11 6 10 11 — 38
3-point goals — DeS 2-16 (Baumgart 0-1, B. Lyons 0-4, Acock 0-3, All. Lyons 0-1, Ash. Lyons 2-7), Napavine 2-19 (Sahlinger 1-9, Brown 0-5, Peters 1-3, Atkins 0-2). Totals fouls – DeS 19, Napavine 10. Fouled out – none. Technicals – none. Rebounds – DeS 42 (Wujek 8), Napavine 38 (Peters 10). Turnovers – DeS 16, Napavine 4. Assists – DeS 6 (Ash. Lyons 3), Napavine 3 (Brown 2).