The Evergreen 2A girls league has a total of 6 teams and going into their final night of league play they are dominating the WIAA’s state rankings with not only the #1 and #2 ranked teams but the #10 and #15 teams as well. The new RPI standings are going to be used to seed the 16 teams that advance to the Regional round of the State Tournament. The top 8 teams will have a chance to earn a 1st round bye at the State Tournament. The 9-16 teams will have to play a loser out game in Regionals and a loser out game on Day 1 of the State Tournament.
The #1 ranked team is Black Hills and they will face off with #2 ranked WF West. Both teams have extremely
impressive resume’s heading into the final night of league play. Black Hills comes in with a 9-0 league record and 17-1 overall. Their lone loss was to 3rd ranked White River back on December 17th at White River 74-69. Impressive wins include a win over 3A Timberline currently 2nd in the SSC, a 24-point win over Washougal who has clinched the GSHL 2A #1 seed and was a state placer last year. The Wolves also beat Evco 1A Champs Montesano, Skyview who are 2nd in the GSHL 4A, 4A Kentwood and 3A North Thurston before going on a 9 game winning league winning streak including a 22 point win over 2nd ranked WF West.
The Wolves coming off a 6th place State Trophy rely on talented Senior Emma Duff who is part of the 1,000 point club topping 1,000 career points earlier this season. Duff is complimented by floor leader Junior Guard Lindsay Nurmi who can score but focuses on handling the ball, dishing out assists and playing defense. She also seems to get an inordinate number of rebounds for guard. Inside Sophomore Maisy Williams is simply getting better and better with each game she plays. A rebounder and scorer with a nice soft shot including a hybrid hook shot at times. Taylor Patti, Kayley Maloney, Rachel LaBelle and Megan River all give the Wolves great depth and are crucial to their success so far.
The Bearcats are used to success although they missed the State Tournament last year after 5 straight years of
bringing home a trophy and 3 straight years of playing for the Title winning it all in 2014. This year’s team is short on play-off experience but long in talent and have been on fire ever since that loss at Black Hills. The Cats have reeled off 7 straight wins demolishing everyone in their wake by an average of 60-31.
During the 7 game run they beat the only team to get Black Hills this year, White River and they beat the tar out of them 71-38. This was especially satisfying to Cats Head Coach Tom Kelly who was concerned how his team would respond after getting walloped by Black Hills. WF West also beat 3A Prairie who is currently 17th in the RPI but GSHL 3A Champions and have a long and storied history as one of the dominate girls programs in the State.
Other earlier wins included beating River Ridge of the SPSL 2A by 60. The Hawks went on to go 17-5 overall and finished 3rd in their division. So the Bearcats beat White River and River Ridge, a 1st place and 3rd place team in the SPSL 2A by a combined 93 points. They also handled Burlington-Edison by 17 who are currently 3rd in the NWC, 3A Wilson 3rd in the PCL and North Thurston another 3A team. Their only other loss is to 4A Camas who are undefeated GSHL Champs and ranked 9th in the RPI.
The Cats are led by Shasta Lofgren who averages nearly 11 points a game but the Senior can drop 20 and can be deadly from behind the arc on any given night. Julia Johnson, Lexie Strasser and Kiara Steen all also average around 10 points a game so trying to simply take away one player isn’t going to work on this team where the offense is spread out so evenly. Erika Brumfield and Strasser are also huge in the paint, Brumfield an excellent rebounder and shot blocker.
This sets up and incredible challenge tonight between the top 2 2A teams at WF West. Black Hills certainly does not want to share the Title and the Bearcats are bent on proving that earlier loss was an anomaly and want their share of the Championship. If the Cats do hold serve and win at home the #1 and #2 seeds will be determined by a tie-breaker depending on the final tally of tonight’s game.
The Evco 2A 3rd and 4th place teams are the unfortunate pair that likely have teams good enough to compete in several other leagues for their Championships but just happen to be in the league with the #1 and #2 ranked teams. For a 6-team league that is pretty incredible. Both teams are 4-5 in league with both losing twice to Black Hills and WF West and then once to each other.
Centralia is currently 10th in the RPI with an overall record of 10-9. The Tigers also beat River Ridge handily by 13, knocked off Olympic League Champs North Kitsap and beat Olympic League 3rd place finishers Port Angeles. They also lost to Black Hills just 3 games back by just 5 points although the Wolves were without their leading scorer Emma Duff in that game. Nonetheless the Tigers have been extremely competitive and have not shied away from a difficult schedule.
Tumwater’s season is nearly identical, last out they played Black Hills trailing only by 7 points with 6 minutes to go in the game when the Wolves finally pulled away to win it. The T-Birds are currently 15th in the RPI and got off to a 4-0 start to begin the season with wins over 4A Battle Ground, 3A North Thurston and Yelm and a win over SPSL 2A Fife and Steilacoom. Tumwater has also continued to improve and remains a pesky opponent and should not be taken lightly heading into the District Tournament. If these 2 teams win tonight they will tie for 3rd and the tie-breaking criteria will determine the 3rd and 4th seeds into the District Tourney.
There are only 2 other classification’s that have teams ranked 1 and 2, should be no surprise in the boys 3A with Nathan Hale and Garfield both of the Metro League but also in the 1B girls with Colton and Oakesdale. Still it is impressive the power of the 2A girls seems to run through this little 6 team league in Southwest Washington the Evergreen 2A. It won’t be surprising to anyone who has seen these 2 teams to see them face off for the District Title or who knows maybe a 4th time for all the marbles.