RICHLAND — The DeSales girls basketball team punched its ticket to the quarterfinals of the Class 2B state tournament Saturday with a dominant 50-32 victory over Oroville.
The Irish survived a sluggish second quarter, and took charge with a 27-14 second-half run to defeat Oroville.
“We’ve changed a lot as a team over the year,” Irish coach Tim Duncan said. “They learned how to play smart. We’ve made some adjustments with the injuries (Molli Lesko and Allesyn Lyons). We’re in the final eight, where we wanted to be.”
Emily Baumgart got it started with 3-ball a minute in, but with the Irish up 7-4, Ashlyn Lyons picked up her second foul and was used sparingly the rest of the half.
“I was a little frustrated,” Lyons said. “I have trust in my teammates and knew they would be OK without me.”
Senior post Allison Wujek closed out the first with a bucket and a free throw to give DeSales a 12-6 lead after one.
Lily Hilderbrand scored six of her game-high 16 in the second and the Hornets hit 5-of-8 from the field to narrow the gap to 23-18 at the half.
“We got away from some stuff in the second quarter,” Duncan said. “We quit posting up and we didn’t take advantage of everything they were giving us.”
“I couldn’t execute as they kept (double-teaming),” Wujek said. “I wasn’t ready sometimes. I finally got in and competed.”
The Irish found their inside game in the third period. Wujek and Hannah Leahy went to work as Wujek dumped the ball low twice to Leahy for buckets, and Leahy returned the favor with an assist to Wujek.
The two Irish posts combined for six points and four assists to lead the Irish on an 18-12 third-quarter run and balloon the lead to 41-30 after three.
“We said the high post and the low post had to work together,” Wujek said. “We (Leahy and Wujek) did a great job of coordinating that. She (Leahy) did a really good job of getting open ... and she did a great job of dumping it to me. Our rings did a great job of getting the ball in.”
The fourth belonged to the Irish defense as it limited the Hornets to 1-of-11 shooting from the floor. Oroville connected on only 5-of-22 attempts in the entire second half. Lyons led the way with three steals and four rebounds over the second 16 minutes.
“Tim (Duncan) said look for the skip pass, and read the passing lane,” Lyons said of her defense. “I just went and got in the way. You could tell that we were all together in the third and fourth quarter. Everyone executed real well.”
Wujek led the Irish with 13 points. Lyons added nine and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Claire Conley drew praise for her defensive work after coming off the bench.
“Big key effort was Claire Conley,” Duncan said. “She was terrific on defense in the first half when we got in a bit of foul trouble.”
It takes a team effort, players and coaches, to return to the quarterfinals, Duncan said.
“I want to publicly thank our coaching staff (Hailey Cole, Nicole Duncan, Caitlin Duncan, and Jeff Blanc),” Duncan said. “I am lucky to have them.”
DeSales now advances to the eight-team state tournament in Spokane on Thursday. Their opponent and game time will be determined by a WIAA draw today.
The Irish placed sixth last year at state.
“We got a taste of it last year,” Wujek said. “We’re hungry for it.”
DESALES 50, OROVILLE 32
OROVILLE (32) — Martin 0 0-0 0, Moralez 1 2-3 5, Miller 0 0-0 0, Jewett 2 0-0 5, Peters 0 0-0 0, Grunst 2 0-0 4, Hilderbrand 6 4-5 16, Scott 1 0-0 2, Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 12-41 6-8 32.
DESALES (50) — Baumgart 3 0-1 8, Deal 1 0-0 3, Acock 3 0-0 7, Conley 2 0-0 4, Wujek 6 1-2 13, Leahy 3 0-0 6, Haider 0 0-0 0, Maiuri 0 0-0 0, Lyons 4 0-0 9. Totals 22-54 1-3 50.
Oroville 6 12 12 2 — 32
DeSales 12 11 18 9 — 50
3-point goals — Oroville 2 (Moralez, Jewett), DeS 5 (Baumgart 2 Deal, Acock, Lyons). Total fouls — Oroville 5, DeS 12. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — DeS (Bench). Rebounds — Oroville 31 (Hilderbrand 12), DeS 32 (Lyons 7). Turnovers — Oroville 17, DeS 10. Assists —Oroville 7 (Moralez 3), DeS 13 (Lyons 3, Leahy 3, Wujek 3).