SPOKANE, Wash. — Although things didn’t end the way White Swan envisioned, the Cougars still left Spokane in high spirits as the Class 2B girls state basketball tournament ended Saturday.
White Swan returned home with a fifth-place trophy after a frustrating 61-55 loss to La Conner on Saturday morning in the Spokane Arena, but the thing that mattered most for the Cougars was that it was some kind of state hardware.
After falling short of a trophy in 2012 and ’13 and failing to qualify for state last season, White Swan, particularly its core of five seniors, couldn’t have been happier to come home with a trophy, regardless of the placing.
“We got a trophy,” White Swan coach Don Jones said after his team knocked off defending champion Colfax in Thursday’s quarterfinals to guarantee the Cougars hardware. Jones added at the time that the team was “going to have fun” the rest of the way.
Saturday, the Cougars looked poised for a slightly higher finish, opening an eight-point halftime lead, but La Conner, behind Adiya Jones-Smith, overcame a slow start offensively to rally and claim third place.
White Swan (20-7), led by senior stallwarts Cayla Jones, Emily Botkin and Bethany Ramsey, started strong and built a 30-22 halftime lead. But La Conner broke loose for 39 second-half points, with Jones-Smith scoring 10 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter to help the Braves hang on.
Jones-Smith made two free throws and Nakiya Edwards’ 3-pointer gave La Conner a nine-point lead with just under five minutes to play. White Swan pulled within three on T’mesh Mills’ basket with just over a minute to play, but Edwards had two steals and made three free throws after that to seal the win.
Botkin, who battled foul trouble in White Swan’s first two game, led the Cougars on Saturday with 16 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds, while Ramsey scored 12 points and Jones added 10.
Kamea Pino had 17 points and five assists for La Conner.
WHITE SWAN — Whitesell 0, Anderson 0, Emily Botkin 16, Wolfsberger 0, Abrams 0, T. Mills 9, W. Mills 4, Tillequots 0, Fiander 3, Beth Ramsey 12, Romero 1, Cayla Jones 10.
LA CONNER — Novak 3, Kamea Pino 17, Christianson 7, Watkins 0, Edwards 12, Cook 2, Adiya Jones-Smith 20.
White Swan 12 18 10 15 — 55
LaConner 8 14 19 20 — 61