Prime time Panthers

Third overtime win in a row sends Washougal girls team to the Yakima Sun Dome

Hardwood Classic

At the Yakima Sun Dome

  • Tickets: $13 a game for adults, $10 for students and senior citizens
  • Tournament pass: $29 for adults, $23 for students and senior citizens
  • Thursday's games

    Shorecrest (15-10) vs. Washougal (19-5), 9 a.m.

    East Valley-Spokane (17-2) vs. Anacortes (17-7), 10:30 a.m.

    Mark Morris (15-8) vs. Ellensburg (21-2), 12:15 p.m.

    Lynden (21-3) vs. Black Hills (21-3), 2 p.m.

    Friday's games

    Consolation one, 9 a.m.

    Consolation two, 10:30 a.m.

    Semifinal one, 3:45 p.m.

    Semifinal two, 5:30 p.m.

    Saturday's games

    Fourth/sixth-place, 8 a.m.

    Third/fifth-place, 11:15 a.m.

    Championship, 5 p.m.

    Overtime has become prime time for the Washougal High School girls basketball team.

    For the second Saturday in a row, the Panthers shut out their opponents 6-0 during those extra four minutes to gain an unforgettable victory for their hometown. This time, Washougal bested a 21-3 White River Hornets team buzzing into the state tournament on a 15-game winning streak.

    The Panthers swatted the Hornets 40-34 to win their third straight overtime game Saturday, at Puyallup High School. Their reward is a trip to the Yakima Sun Dome to play in the Elite Eight.

    “Every time we step on to the floor now, we are making history for Washougal basketball. Let’s take it as far as we can go,” said senior guard RaeAnn Allen. “There’s nobody we can’t handle with this mentality. You can’t beat the heart on this team.”

    Washougal (19-5) faces Shorecrest (15-10) in the quarterfinals Thursday. Tip off is at 9 a.m.

    Washougal head coach Brian Oberg said the Panthers are in uncharted territory.

    “This is all new for us. Let’s not just show up. Make everything count,” he said.

    Washougal had a 7-3 lead at the start of Saturday’s game, before White River scored nine points in a row to build a 12-7 advantage by the end of the first quarter. The Panthers went several minutes without a field goal until senior Sierra Carroll ended the drought on a swift assist by Alyssa Blankenship.

    Trailing by nine points at the start of the third quarter, the Panthers outscored the Hornets 12-5 in the next eight minutes.

    Bea earned a steal and passed the ball to Blankenship for two points. Blankenship then stole the ball and scored two more points. Bea and Blankenship forced another turnover, and Blankenship netted a foul shot to cut the deficit to three.

    Sydney Anderson netted her third 3-pointer to put White River back up by six. Washougal senior Alissa Lenczowski responded with a jump shot for two. Allen then scored two more points off an in-bounds pass by Carroll to bring the Panthers within two heading into the fourth quarter.

    A basket by Blankenship tied the score at 27-27. Bea made a foul shot to give the Panthers the lead for the first time since the beginning of the game. Anderson stuck it to the Panthers again on her fourth 3-pointer of the game. Washougal was then hit with two charging fouls, which allowed White River to increase its lead to five.

    Blankenship netted two more foul shots, but Washougal still trailed by three points with a minute and 40 seconds left on the clock. Lindsey Thomas drained a 3-pointer for the Panthers in the final 54 seconds of regulation to tie the score at 34 and send this roller coaster ride into overtime.

    “I wanted that shot to go in,” Thomas said. “Not for me, but for everyone on this team and in the bleachers rooting for us.”

    Allen has nothing but love for Thomas.

    “She lives right next door to me. I couldn’t be more proud of the player and the person she has become,” Allen said. “She broke her shoelaces diving for the ball, and she just continued to play the game.”

    Washougal and White River scrambled to score a basket, but were unable to do so for the first three minutes of overtime. Allen finally broke the dam for the Panthers with a pull-up jumper.

    “It’s a shot I make in practice all the time,” Allen said. “I was just elated when it went in.”

    As the last seconds ticked off the clock, the Panthers realized their dream will continue. They are two days away from playing basketball in the Yakima Sun Dome.

    “I couldn’t ask for anything more from these girls,” Blankenship said. “We worked so hard, and we deserved it.”

    Blankenship didn’t have any points at halftime. She finished the game with a triple-double: 12 points, 11 steals and 11 rebounds. She increased her career total to 1,190 points.

    “If my offense wasn’t coming, my defense would fix it,” Blankenship said.

    And the Washougal fans never stopped cheering.

    “It’s great that they come as far as we do,” Thomas said. “Whether we win or lose, or no matter how we play, they’re proud.”

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