For the past three seasons, when opposing teams faced the Washougal girls basketball players, their primary focus has been figuring out how to slow down 6’1″ guard Beyonce Bea.
But at the Panther girls’ Nov. 30 home opener, the 2A Washougal team proved their depth is extraordinary this season, and handily beat the defending 2A state champions from W.F. West 77-48.
It was a bad-luck night all around for the W.F. West Bearcats, who arrived in Washougal an hour late because of a traffic jam on Interstate 5. Then, just two minutes into the game, the Bearcats’ 6’3″ star, senior Erika Brumfield, a Portland State commit, suffered a serious knee injury and later returned to the sidelines in a wheelchair.
Even without Brumfield, the Bearcats managed to tie the game up 18-18 midway through the first quarter. That’s when the Panthers flipped their energy switch. Washougal High freshman Savea Mansfield checked into the game, pulled up, drained a 3-pointer and the Panthers never looked back.
“They were fired up,” Washougal head girls basketball coach Brittany Knotts said. “For the freshmen, it was their first home game, and it was the seniors’ last first home game, and they were all ready.”
Mansfield leads all scorers with 17 points
The Panthers displayed their ferocious defense to a packed home crowd, which led to countless fast breaks, many ending with players pulling up for 3-point shots.
Mansfield was perfect from 3-point territory, hitting three shots from long range and finishing with 17 points.
Mansfield’s cousin, Jaiden Bea, also a freshman, hit a trifecta of 3-pointers and finished the game with 10 points and three steals.
Sophomore Skylar Bea, another Mansfield cousin, dominated the paint and was 5-7 from the field, finishing with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Finally, Skylar’s senior sister, Beyonce Bea, pulled down 10 rebounds to go with her six assists, two blocks and 11 points.
Washougal senior Ashley Gibbons added 11 points and five rebounds.
“I think this was our best game in my four years here when it comes to positive energy and communication,” Beyonce Bea said. “It was so much fun.”
Starting senior point guard Kiara Cross said the team decided to really pump up the energy in the locker room right before the game.
“We’re just going to keep pushing each other, positivity on the bench, scream shot, just say something random — as long as we are talking and keeping our energy high,” Cross said.
Beyonce Bea also hit a 3-pointer during the game, something she’s been working on in the offseason.
However, it was the shooting performance put on by her younger relatives that sent a strong message to the league, according to the oldest Bea.
“It shows what this team is capable of and that we are not a one-person show,” she said. “When people double up on one person, we now have plenty of other options.”