Winning season leads Washougal girls basketball team to district tournament

Panthers are playing at River Ridge Friday, at 7 p.m.

Panthers are playing at River Ridge Friday, at 7 p.m.

Backed by the best record since Charlie Boyce became head coach six years ago, the 11-9 Washougal girls basketball team is going to River Ridge Friday to play in the first round of the district tournament.

“We’re going to go out there and play hard, scrap, run as fast as we can and hope things turn our way,” Boyce said. “We couldn’t have gotten this far without our seniors. This is such a great opportunity for them and the ones we have coming back.”

This is a dream come true for seniors Savanna McDowell and Megan Townsend. This rest of the Panthers are underclassmen.

“It just feels awesome to have a winning season,” Townsend said. “Our entire team deserves it.”

“All that time we put in during the spring, summer and fall, it was all worth it for this moment,” McDowell added. “We just want to do the best in the playoffs, and hopefully make Washougal proud.”

After tough losses to Mark Morris, Hockinson and R.A. Long earlier in the season, the Panthers turned things around with a 45-26 victory at Hockinson Thursday. Megan Sharp led the attack with 21 points and Crystal Chase added 10. Washougal outscored Hockinson 15-2 in the third quarter and 14-7 in the fourth. The Panthers also made 10 free throws in the fourth quarter and finished 16 for 20 from the foul line in the game.

Back at home Monday, Washougal defeated R.A. Long 43-34 to clinch the third seed into the playoffs. Sharp led the effort again with 18 points. She said she did all for the seniors.

“I love playing with Megan and Savanna, and now we get to play together a little longer,” she said.

Alyssa Blankenship’s pull-up jumper gave the Panthers a 34-32 lead with less than six minutes to go in the game. Chase broke it wide open when she swished a 3-pointer off a pass from Blankenship. McDowell then rebounded the ball and tossed it to Sharp on the other end.

“It was just like a quarterback and a wide receiver,” McDowell said. “It’s one of my favorite things to do.”

Sharp drew contact from the defender, but she still made the basket and converted the foul shot for a 3-point play. After that, Washougal led by nine.

“It’s a team effort,” Sharp said. “All the little things help us win.”