La Conner girls’ basketball team starts summer tourney today


There truly is no rest for the weary.

The La Conner High girls’ basketball team, which after playing five games in a week against top competition – the Lady Braves won four of those, losing only to 2A Burlington-Edison – and now coach Scott Novak’s charges begin state 2B summer tournament play today in Mount Vernon.

La Conner faces sixth-seeded Toledo in a much-anticipated 2 p.m. matchup at the Mount Vernon Christian gymnasium on Blackburn Road.

The Lady Braves enter the June 23-25 event sporting a 12-1 mark. They are seeded third after closing the regular season with triumphs over 3A Ferndale, 2A Lynden, 1A Meridian and tourney host and conference rival MVC.

La Conner was sorely tested in the latter two contests, both on the road, winning 63-57 at Meridian behind 27 points from Sarah Cook and edging MVC 55-45 last Tuesday as Josie Harper tallied a game-high 23 points.

La Conner trailed MVC 9-0 early, pulled to within 25-22 at the break, then used an 18-4 run in the third period to take command.

“We switched a couple things up at halftime,” Novak told the Weekly News. “We went to a half-court trap and that led to some turnovers and transition scoring. It helped us get our rhythm.”

La Conner overcame a 16-point effort from MVC freshman standout Allie Heino.

Novak said La Conner’s tough late regular season schedule led to some fatigue.

“The last five games,” he said, “we played against some really good teams. And we always get their games.”

Coming off a hard-fought win the night before at Meridian, La Conner appeared leg-weary at the outset of its clash at MVC.

“They’re a very solid team,” Novak said of the Lady Hurricanes. “They were ready to go.”

La Conner survived by continuing to attack the rim, drawing fouls and cutting into the MVC lead at the free throw stripe.

While Mount Vernon Christian hit just three of nine charity tosses, La Conner converted 13 of 20 attempts. That proved crucial.

“We made more free throws than they attempted,” Novak pointed out. “That’s always one of our primary goals. It’s one of our most valuable stats. It means we’re playing aggressively and attacking the basket.”

Cook (11) and Ellie Marble (10) joined Harper in double figure scoring for La Conner. MVC’s Heino scored 12 of her 16 points in the final period, but it was not enough to offset La Conner’s decisive third quarter spurt.

Novak and La Conner quickly shifted their attention this week to first round tourney foe Toledo, whose spring campaign included a 66-23 blowout over Kalama and a recent 42-38 victory at Raymond.

The La Conner-Toledo winner will advance to play either Wahkiakum or Kettle Falls.

“We got the tough bracket, which always seems to be case for us,” said Novak, whose 2020 club placed second at the 2B state Hardwood Classic in Spokane.

Other opening round games of note in Mount Vernon today pair Warden and Onalaska and Tri-Cities Prep opposite Mount Vernon Christian.


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