Panthers defeat Plainsmen 61-20

Washougal's second-year head coach Brittany Knox (right) was happy with the defensive effort in the win against Evergreen, but said the team's hard work is just getting started this season.

The Panthers leading scorer Beyonce Bea rises for a long distance jumper against Evergreen High School on Nov. 26.

Jaden Bea challenges a defender at the hoop. She had 10 points, four rebounds and five steals in her first ever high school game against Evergreen High School, on Monday, Nov. 26

Jaden Bea on the court during a Nov. 26 game against Evergreen High in Vancouver.

The 2A Washougal girls basketball team kicked off the season against the 3A Evergreen High Plainsmen with a 61-20 shellacking in the Evergreen Fieldhouse on Monday, Nov. 26.

The Panthers, who have made it to the state tournament three consecutive seasons, returned all five starters this year. On Monday, thanks to three talented freshmen, Washougal displayed an intense new look.

“They played well and showed up, which is great,” said Washougal head girls basketball coach Brittany Knox. “They came in with energy and were excited to be there and made plays.”

The Panthers took advantage of their young bench early in the game and the constant rotation of players helped the team stay fresh and keep up the defensive pressure, especially in the first half. Starting senior point guard Kiara Cross said she thought the bench played well and that she was happy to see the intensity.

“I was kind of nervous for the freshmen. I mean, oh my gosh, this was their first high school game,” Cross said.

Freshman Jaden Bea played with scrappy intensity on defense and solid shooting on offense. In her first-ever high school game, she scored 10 points, pulled down four rebounds, and had five steals and two assists. She was second in scoring only to her older cousin, Beyonce Bea, and starter Ashley Gibbons, who finished with 12 points each.

Another Bea cousin, freshman Savea Mansfield, showed her athleticism as she pressured the Plainsmen on defense and ran the court, finishing with seven points. Freshman Sammy Mederos also put in solid minutes in the post, rebounding and looking to make passes.

Panthers take on state champions

Starting forward Ashley Gibbons said she liked the team’s intensity, but felt like they all need to work on better communication on the floor and do a better job of keeping up their intensity.

“In my opinion, we have a lot to work on because we had a lot of ups and downs,” Gibbons said. “We felt like we really had them in the first half, but then just kind of floated through the second half.”

The Panthers’ next play W.F. West, the reigning state 2A champions, at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 30, in the Washougal High School gymnasium.