YAKIMA — The Okanogan girls cruised into the state 1A semifinals after crushing a confident Bellevue Christian squad, 58-33, on Thursday in the Yakima SunDome.
“They did very well,” Bulldogs coach Bryan Boesel said of his No. 4-ranked team, which is bound for the semifinals Friday against league nemesis and top-ranked Cashmere.
Cashmere advanced to the semifinals with an easy win, 60-28, over No. 7 La Center on Thursday. Cashmere had a 22-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Okanogan and Cashmere face off at 3:45 p.m. Friday in the SunDome. The winner advances to the finals against the winner of the Granger vs. Mount Baker game immediately following at 5:30 p.m. in the SunDome.
Granger is ranked No. 3 and coming off a commanding victory, 56-35, over No. 13 Meridian. No. 8-ranked Mount Baker stunned No. 2 Lynden Christian, 57-49, to reach the semifinals.
Eight Okanogan girls put points on the board and seven took control of the boards, keeping the Vikings pinned down most of the game.
“To come out pretty hard, pretty strong … we’re back right where we want to be,” Boesel said.
The No. 6-ranked Vikings came out poised and ready for the Bulldogs after a stunning last-minute victory, 41-37, Wednesday night over No. 14 La Salle.
Bellevue Christian put up the first 3 points on a strike from Nicole Bloch only 9 seconds into the game. The shot was a wakeup call for the Bulldogs.
That warning bell kicked off a 13-point run for Okanogan.
Senior Jill Townsend put Okanogan on the board with a couple free throws after being fouled by Molly Olson. Then Kendra Sachse hit a big 3-point field goal, followed by back-to-back treys from Jordyn Boesel.
Before Bellevue Christian could find the net again, Jillian Taylor tacked on 2 more to give the Bulldogs a 13-3 lead with 3:42 to go in the first quarter.
“That’s how we wanted to start,” the coach said. “If teams are going to over-play us inside and take away the drives, we set a lot of screens. We can shoot a lot of outside shots.”
With Okanogan in command of the arc, Bellevue Christian loosened up inside and settled in a more even game for the remainder of the first quarter. The first stanza ended with the Bulldogs holding a 17-10 advantage.
That was as close as the game would be. And halfway through the second quarter, the Bulldogs had doubled the Vikings score, 24-12. They would add 8 more points in the quarter, while holding the Vikings to just 5 more.
At the half, Okanogan led, 32-15.
“To hit those outside shots early, just set the tone for the game,” coach Bryan Boesel said.
In the third quarter, Boesel started substituting more frequently and eased off the press a bit, but the Vikings could close the gap. After three, Okanogan had more than enough points to win the game, leading 47-26.
The fourth quarter was much the same story, as Okanogan scored 11 more to Bellevue Christian’s additional 7.
Bellevue Christian was paced by Rachel Berg with 13 points and teammate Nicole Bloch with 11. Bloch also had 5 rebounds.
Townsend led all scorers with 20 points and teammate Kendra Sachse added 12 for Okanogan. Other Bulldogs posting points included Jordyn Boesel with 9, Alexis Jones 6, Taylor 4, Jada Rasmussen 3, and Emile Beetchenow and Kailee Grooms with 2 each.
Townsend had 11 rebounds for Okanogan and Rasmussen had 5.
Okanogan shot 44.9 percent from inside the arc and 53.3 percent on treys. The team was also 66.7 percent from the free throw line.
Looking back on the game, the coach said he was happy to spread the points around.
“When we have four, five or six people contribute on offense, we are a hard team to beat,” the coach said.
Score by quarters
Bellevue Christian 10 5 11 7 - 33
Okanogan 17 15 15 11 - 58
Bellevue Christian – Berg 13, McQuaid 1, Blcoh 11, VanderBrink 4, Olson 2, Hathaway 2
Okanogan — Jones 6, Boesel 9, Rasmussen 3, Townsend 20, Sachse 12, Taylor 4, Beetchenow 2, Grooms 2.