The game plan was going to perfection for the Panthers, until their best scorer and rebounder fouled out.
Beyonce Bea racked up 14 points and 16 rebounds, draining jump shots and put backs with defenders in her face. But then, she picked up her fourth and fifth fouls during a critical stretch in the third quarter. Just like that, Bea was forced to the bench for the rest of the game.
A 22-12 swing in the fourth quarter helped White River defeat Washougal 66-53 in the regional round of the 2A state tournament Saturday, at Rogers High School in Puyallup.
Washougal head coach Brian Oberg kept Bea in to take advantage of the match up they had. He thought she would be safe for one more possession.
But, the officials had itchy whistles. They called 55 fouls in the game — 43 on Washougal and 12 on White River. The Hornets went 17-for-23 from the foul line in the fourth quarter alone.
“When you have White River fans coming up to afterwards and saying, ‘You should protest the game,’ it was that bad,” Oberg said. “For him to call that foul and take your best player out, when they clearly guarded their best player two other times and they didn’t call the foul on her, they called the foul on our girl. That’s just ridiculous.”
Washougal never gave up. White River double and triple-teamed Mason Oberg, but she found Kaitlyn Reijonen open on her way to the hoop for two points. Oberg also stole the ball, scored a basket and made a foul shot to get the Panthers within five points in the final two minutes, 30 seconds.
Oberg was up to 15 points, but then she also fouled out of the game, and Washougal was unable to recover.
“I told the girls to keep their heads up. You’ve got to overcome,” said coach Oberg. “We have a lot of basketball left. We are the only team that’s played the top three teams in the state. We feel pretty good about our chances moving forward, but what we can’t have is a let down. We can be mad, but we can’t pout.”
As the No. 6 seed, Washougal still gets to go to the Yakima Sun Dome.
The Panthers have to beat East Valley, Yakima, and Burlington-Edison to get an opportunity to play for a trophy. Three wins in a row would send Washougal to the championship game Saturday.
“We’re going to take our frustration out on these teams and hopefully work our way up to the championship,” Bea said. “We can play with all these teams. I know we can beat them.”
Bea has nothing but love for teammates for not giving up when their backs were against the wall. That’s the mentality they need in the Sun Dome to bring home more hardware.
“I’m really proud of everyone for their effort and not giving up,” Bea said. “We just had a few calls not go our way, but we’ll get them next time.”