The stage is set for a big 2016 for the Washougal High School girls basketball team.
The 7-2 Panthers earned a 50-30 victory against Seton Catholic Dec. 29, in the Joe Brown Gymnasium. Freshman Beyonce Bea scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and snagged four steals.
“This is what I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid,” Bea said. “I always went to the varsity games. It’s what I wanted to do as a freshman.”
Alyssa Blankenship added 13 points, five rebounds and two steals. RaeAnn Allen provided 10 points and four assists. Bea said she looks up to these two seniors.
“They bring the energy and the fire,” she said. “They’re the ones that say, ‘let’s stay after practice and shoot.’ They invite me so we can all get better together.”
Bea scored 11 points in a row between the first and second quarters to help the Panthers build a 15-2 advantage. She nailed a 3-pointer, recovered a loose ball on the other end, dribbled down the open lane and put the ball in the hoop for two more points. Bea then received an in-bounds pass from Allen and beat the buzzer with a jump shot.
Bea stole the ball and scored a basket to begin the second quarter. She then rebounded a miss by the Panthers and put it back up for her 11th point.
Seton Catholic nailed a three to stop the surge by Bea, but then the Washougal seniors took over.
Allen delivered a crisp pass to Blankenship on a fast break for two points. Blankenship then stole the ball and passed it back to Allen for two points. Allen got to a loose ball and powered it through the net. Alissa Lenczowski scored two points before the halftime buzzer on an assist by Allen.
Washougal went on another 16-2 scoring binge in the third quarter. Bea scored two points on a feed by Allen. Blankenship made a turnaround basket off a pass by Allen. She was fouled on the shot, went to the foul line and drained her free throw to complete a 3-point play.
Allen then stole the ball and scored two more points on a fast break. Bea added two points off a pass by Blankenship. Bea rebounded her miss and put it back up for her 17th point. Blankenship stole the ball and scored a basket on the other end.
Seton Catholic scored their only two points of the third quarter in the final minute. Blankenship netted one more basket before the buzzer.
Allen, Bea and Blankenship sat out in the fourth quarter.
Washougal returns to the league circuit this week. After playing at R.A. Long, the Panthers host Woodland Friday and head to Hockinson Monday.
“We’ve got some good games ahead of us. I’m excited,” Blankenship said. “Our goal is to get first in league. I definitely do think we can make it to state this year.”
Head coach Brian Oberg said the time has come for the Panthers to be playing at full tilt every night. These are the games the seniors have spent years preparing for together.
“This is where their careers are going to be defined,” he said. “It’s all about effort, attitude and focus. There are going to be nights when the ball doesn’t go through the basket, but as long as we keep these three things in check, I think we can match up with anybody.”