WHS girls basketball honors senior, clinches league title

Washougal freshman point guard Chloe Johnson takes a 3-point shot in front of an excited home crowd against R.A. Long on Feb. 10.

Washougal sophomore Jaiden Bea puts defensive pressure on an inbounds play during the Panthers' win over R.A. Long on Feb. 10.

Washougal senior McKinley Stotts scores the first bucket of the game against R.A. Long in the final game of the regular season at Washougal High School on Feb. 7.

The Washougal cheer squad pumps up the crowd prior to the Panthers' girls basketball team's final league game of the season against R.A. Long on Feb. 10.

Before the start of the Washougal girls basketball team’s Feb. 10 home game against R.A. Long, the Panthers honored McKinley Stotts, their lone senior, for her hard work during the past four years.

With Stotts and her family members at center court, teammates read a speech filled with memorable stories about her time as a Panther.

“I was sad and excited at the same time,” Stotts said after the game. “It was really, really emotional, and I didn’t expect the team to write a whole speech for me. It really meant a lot.”

Stotts scored 15 points in her final regular-season home game in the Panthers’ 50-38 win over the Lumberjacks.

Panthers set for postseason play

Washougal, which won its fifth straight league title with a 44-38 win over Columbia River on Feb. 6, will play a 2A District 4 tournament first-round game on Friday, Feb. 14 at home against the winner of a Feb. 12 game between Hockinson and Rochester.

The Panthers (18-2 overall, 12-0 2A Greater St. Helens League) are second in the latest Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Ratings Percentage Index rankings for 2A teams.

Washougal rallies for win, league title

Confidence. In basketball, like many sports, it’s the x-factor that pushes teams to victory in the toughest of situations. The Panthers found their confidence in their come-from-behind victory over Columbia River.

Washougal’s shooting was off in the first half as the Panthers missed 14 straight 3-pointers. The Chieftains built a 16-point lead in the third quarter, giving their fans a lot to cheer for as it appeared they might hand the Panthers their first league loss in 24 games.

However, Panther pride came alive in the second half. Stotts hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to begin a 27-5 run in the final 13 minutes of the game.

Sophomore Jaiden Bea stole the ball and made a layin to give Washougal the lead with just 90 seconds left, and the Panthers held on to capture their fifth consecutive league title.

Junior Skylar Bea led Washougal with 15 points. Jaiden Bea added 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Stotts had nine points for the Panthers.