Washougal Panther spirit shines bright

Girls and boys beat Tenino at home

Michael McElory climbs the bean stalk and scores a basket for the Washougal boys basketball team.

The Washougal High School girls and boys basketball teams came home for the holidays and defeated Tenino in a doubleheader Wednesday.

Eleven ladies put the ball in the basket to help the Panthers beat the Beavers 60-27. Alyssa Blankenship racked up 11 points, seven steals and six rebounds in her first start of the season. Megan Sharp scored 14 points and Megan Townsend grabbed 12 rebounds.

“It was a good showing of character by our girls to bounce back after losing two tough games on the road,” said Washougal girls head coach Charlie Boyce. Washougal lost to Columbia River 50-45 the day before, and Mountain View 65-54 Dec. 15.

The Panthers pounced the Beavers with a 14-5 first quarter. Boyce said Sharp got Washougal to the basket early with her aggressive style.

“She’s faster than any player I have ever coached,” he said.

Blankenship and Townsend lit up the stat sheet again with points, rebounds, assists and steals. Kristen Graham delivered plenty of energy off the bench and scored eight points. The Panthers (6-3) host Auburn Thursday and go to Centralia Friday before beginning league play. Both games start at 7 p.m.

“The girls have played really hard and left it all on the court. That’s all a coach can ask for,” Boyce said. “I think it’s going to be an interesting league. We could beat every team in this league, or we could lose to every team. That’s going to make it exciting every single night.”

Washougal has the desire, and it has the Panther Pit Crew. The student section is packed on game nights.

“The boys are having a good season too,” Boyce said. “There’s a lot of spirit in the gym.”

The Washougal boys capped off Wednesday’s festivities with a 67-64 victory against Tenino. The Panthers lost to Prairie 54-49 the day before, and found themselves behind the 8-ball again against the Beavers. Devante Harris tore through the jungle and scored 32 points for Tenino.

“He did not get any easy looks,” said Washougal boys head coach Malcolm Estes. “That’s what makes it all the more impressive.”

After the Panthers fell behind by five points late in the fourth quarter, Nate Adams won the battle for an offensive rebound and was fouled on the put back attempt. He went to the line and drained both shots. Washougal fought to get the ball back, and Michael McElroy nailed a 3-pointer to tie the score. Adams hit two more baskets from the foul line to give the Panthers the lead for good, and McElory made two foul shots to extend the advantage.

“The boys were able to step up and pull out a victory when they didn’t have their best night,” Estes said. “That’s the sign of a mature team. These boys were not going to let this one get away from them.”

Washougal (7-3) faces Camas again Thursday. Tip off is at 7 p.m., at Camas High School. The Panthers host Ridgefield Thursday, Jan. 3, and Mark Morris Thursday, Jan. 10, in their first two league games.

“Our student body is doing a great job supporting our boys and girls. It’s been a great atmosphere, and I hope it stays that way,” Estes said. “I know the boys are enjoying it. These moments only happen once in a lifetime. I hope they remember them.”