KENNEWICK — Competitive athletics teaches one to take the good with the bad.
Women’s NWAACC Championships
At Toyota Center
Walla Walla 71, SW Oregon 57
Bellevue 80, Tacoma 53
Skagit Valley 68, Lower Columbia 66
Chemeketa 75, Columbia Basin 48
Clark 84, Whatcom 68
Centralia 59, Peninsula 49
Clackamas 73, Spokane 65
Lane 71, Yakima Valley 54
Chemeketa 78, Bellevue 73
Lane 66, Centralia 60
Skagit Valley 56, Walla Walla 51
Clackamas 68, Clark 39
Spokane 70, Whatcom 55 (loser out)
Yakima Valley 82, Peninsula 71, OT (loser out)
Southwest Oregon 75, Lower Columbia 65 (loser out)
Columbia Basin 59, Tacoma 48 (loser out)
Columbia Basin vs. Yakima Valley, 10 a.m. (loser out)
Spokane vs. Southwest Oregon, noon (loser out)
Bellevue vs. Centralia, 2 p.m. (loser out)
Walla Walla vs. Clark, 4 p.m. (loser out)
Chemeketa vs. Lane, 6 p.m.
Skagit Valley vs. Clackamas, 8 p.m.
Walla Walla’s Caitlin Duncan was reminded of that here late Sunday afternoon at the Toyota Center in the quarterfinals of the women’s NWAACC Championships basketball tournament.
Less than 24 hours after striking for 25 points and leading the Warriors to a 71-57 opening-round victory over Southwest Oregon, the redshirt sophomore out of DeSales High School found herself in a deep freeze Sunday and on the short end of a 56-51 quarterfinal verdict at the hands of Skagit Valley.
The loss, only the fourth defeat this season for the Eastern Region champions, dropped Walla Walla into a loser-out game this afternoon at 4 against Clark. The Penguins, who opened tournament play Saturday with an 84-68 victory over Whatcom, were defeated by Clackamas 68-39 in Sunday’s quarterfinals.
Skagit Valley, the No. 2 seed out of the Northern Region, moves on to tonight’s semifinals where it will be joined by the top three teams from the Southern Region. The Cardinals face South champion Clackamas at 8 p.m., preceded by a 6 p.m. battle between South rivals Lane, the No. 2 seed, and Chemeketa, seeded third.
Lane advanced to the semis with a 66-60 win over Centralia and Chemeketa eked out a 78-73 victory over Bellevue.
Duncan was 9-for-21 from the field and 3-of-9 from 3-point distance during Saturday’s victory. But against Skagit Valley’s zone defense on Sunday, she made just 1-of-10 shots overall and was 0-for-8 from downtown.
“She was getting basically the same shots she got last night,” Warriors coach Bobbi Hazeltine said of Duncan. “Her shots just weren’t falling.
“Caitlin plays so darned hard. I feel really bad for her. I’ve got a lot of really upset girls in that locker room right now.
“But if wasn’t for Caitlin, we wouldn’t have been in this game tonight.”
Even at that, it was Duncan’s gritty play in the final couple of minutes of the rock’em sock’em battle that nearly pulled the game out of the fire for the Warriors.
The Warriors were trailing 48-42 after Skagit Valley’s Sophia Baetz slipped a defender and spun into the lane for a layin, drew a foul and completed a three-point play with 4:50 remaining in the game. One minute later, WWCC sophomore Michelle Seitz drained a 3-point basket that cut the difference to 48-45.
Then, on the other end of the court, Seitz rolled an ankle in a vicious battle for a rebound and limped to the sidelines. With just under three minutes to play, the Warriors were without their scoring and rebounding leader.
That’s when Duncan, who had been limited to one free throw to that point, forced the issue. Twice in a row she muscled the ball inside and drew fouls. Her first two free throws at 2:28 drew the Warriors within 48-47, and her next two gave them their final lead of the night, 49-48, with 1:47 on the clock.
But once again Baetz wriggled free, this time along the baseline, scored, was fouled and completed another three-point play for a 51-49 Cardinals advantage with 1:29 remaining.
Duncan countered 14 seconds later as she worked the baseline, pulled up and hit a 15-foot jumper. It was her only field goal of the game and it knotted the score again at 51-all.
Skagit Valley regained the lead on Nanaya Miki’s hard drive to the hoop with one minute to play. She was fouled as well but missed her free throw.
The Warriors missed their final four field goal tries, all of them deep 3-point efforts, and the Cardinals sealed the victory by sinking 3-of-4 free throws in the final 21 seconds.
The game was a hard-fought defensive struggle — the Warriors shot 17-for-57 from the floor (30 percent) and the Cardinals were 19-for-61 (31 percent) — but it was defensive breakdowns late in the game that proved to be Walla Walla’s undoing, Hazeltine said.
“Defense is the reason we lost,” the coach said. “I’m not naming any names, but we had some breakdowns on defense that you just can’t have in a game like this.”
Seitz, who also left the game in the first half after hitting her head on the floor in a battle for a rebound, led the Warriors in scoring with 17 points on 5-for-18 shooting from the floor. She also led her team with 10 rebounds.
Sophomore post Hailey Felgenhauer was the Warriors’ most efficient offensive player as she sank 7-of-10 shots and finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. That on top of a 21-point game in Saturday’s first round.
Duncan also picked up eight boards as WWCC outrebounded the taller Cardinals 53-37.
The fact that only four Warriors broke into the scoring column — Duncan contributed seven points and Allie Kelsey six — was not lost on Hazeltine.
“Against a man-to-man defense, we have as many offensive weapons as we have players on the court,” she said. “But against a zone defense, we only have a few girls who can score.”
Laken McClelland led Skagit Valley with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Samantha Kelleigh was the Cardinals’ only other double-figure scorer with 17 points.
The Warriors take a 24-4 record into this afternoon’s loser-out game.
“We will see what we are made of,” Hazeltine said.
Skagit Valley 56, Walla Walla 51
SKAGIT VALLEY (56) — Baetz 5-17 7-9 17, Kelleigh 2-6 0-0 6, McClelland 7-16 0-0 18, Dolquist 2-3 0-0 4, Johnson 0-4 3-4 3, Miki 3-11 2-3 8, Boyd 0-4 0-2 0, Whitener 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-61 12-16 56.
WALLA WALLA (51) — Seitz 5-18 2-2 17, Hawkins 0-3 0-0 0, Jordan 2-3 0-1 5, DeLong 0-2 0-2 0, Duncan 1-10 5-6 7, Rad 0-1 0-1 0, Felgenhauer 7-10 2-4 16, Kelsey 2-10 0-0 6. Totals 17-57 9-16 51.
Halftime — Skagit Valley 30, WWCC 28. 3-point goals — Skagit Valley 6-21 (Baetz 0-8, Kelleigh 2-4, McClelland 4-7, Boyd 0-2), WWCC 8-29 (Seitz 5-11, Jordan 1-2, Duncan 0-6, Felgenhauer 0-1, Kelsey 2-9). Total fouls — WWCC 16, Skagit Valley 14. Fouled out — WWCC (Kelsey). Technical fouls — none. Rebounds — WWCC 53 (Seitz 10), Skagit Valley 37 (McClelland 10), Turnovers — WWCC 15, Skagit Valley 5. Assists — WWCC 14 (Hawkins 6), Skagit Valley 5 (Whitener 2).