The Montesano High School girls basketball team secured a spot in the Washington 1A State Tournament with a 42-29 win over Kalama on Saturday.
Leading by six at halftime, the Lady Bulldogs took control in the third quarter and held Kalama scoreless for just over seven minutes. Back-to-back 3-pointers from junior Megan Choate and freshman Shayla Floch, along with stifling defense, allowed Montesano (22-0) to extend the lead to nine points at the end of the third quarter.
“At halftime, I told the kids that it wasn’t enough points,” coach Julie Graves said. “We needed to come out and own the third quarter, and we did that. We hit a couple shots and I think that relaxed a couple of the kids.”
Montesano stayed patient against the 2-3 defense of Kalama and waited for open shots. The patience paid off as the Lady Bulldogs stayed undefeated and earned a spot in the District 4 championship game against also-unbeaten Woodland (21-0) at 8 p.m. Friday at W.F. West High School in Chehalis.
“We are hungry for more,” Choate said. “We don’t want to experience a loss.”
The junior’s drive to win showed with just over three minutes left in the game and Montesano up by eight, as Choate stole the ball and drove from half court all the way to the basket. Choate made the lay-in and, as the whistle was blown to signify a foul, she slapped the floor.
“I was pretty excited,” Choate said. “I hurt my hand a little bit. I just wanted to win.”
Choate led the Bulldogs with 13 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter. Freshman Jordan Spradlin added 12 points and 12 rebounds, and sophomore Cortney Miller scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds.
“It takes the pressure off just to know that we are in the regional tournament now,” Graves said. “It feels pretty good to get back to the district championship game with a whole new crew. That feels pretty good that we could take some of our younger kids that were more role players last year and turn them into our key players this year and be able to return to the state championship game.”
While the Lady Bulldogs are happy to secure a place in one of the eight regional games before a possible trip to Yakima, they will not be satisfied until they are district champs. Montesano defeated Woodland, 45-26, in the semifinals of the district tournament last season. This year, the rematch with the Beavers will take place in the championship, but Graves hopes for the same result.
“We have a week to prepare and put together a game plan so we will give it our best shot,” Graves said.