La Conner girls OT loss nets second place in summer state tourney


There was no state 2B Hardwood Classic in Spokane this year.

But there was a state level tournament in Mount Vernon last week.

And as was the case in Spokane in 2020, La Conner High’s entry advanced to the final round, earning top runner-up honors.

La Conner (15-2) placed second in the girls’ Summer State 2B basketball tournament hosted Wednesday through Friday by Mount Vernon Christian.

The Lady Braves routed Toledo and edged Wahkiakum before falling to top-seeded Warden 72-66 in overtime for the championship.

The three-day, eight-team event produced the quality of play fans are accustomed to seeing each March in Spokane.

“Because we played a spring schedule this year due to COVID-19, everybody was pretty much in mid-season form,” head coach Scott Novak said afterward.

He said the games with Wahkiakum and Warden were classics.

The Lady Braves defeated frequent Spokane Arena foe Wahkiakum 65-62 courtesy a clutch late three-pointer by Sarah Cook, who had paced La Conner with 24 points in its 65-30 first round rout of Toledo.

Ellie Marble (13) and Rachel Cram (11) also finished in double figure scoring for La Conner in the opener, which served as a tune-up for the clash with Wahkiakum.

La Conner blistered the nets in the tense and much anticipated matchup with the Lady Mules with nine perimeter treys, three by Juna Swanson, who tallied 13 points.

Josie Harper, this year’s Skagit County girls’ scoring leader, topped the victors with 16 points. Cook (13), Marble (11), Cram (9) and Aubrie Sloniker (3) rounded out the attack.

“It was a battle,” Novak said of the pairing with Wahkiakum. “Both teams made a lot of great plays. It was a really well played game with not a lot of turnovers or mistakes by either team.”

La Conner trailed 29-27 at the break but forged a 39-39 tie going into the final stanza.

Cook’s three-pointer as time wound down in the fourth quarter proved decisive.

Both teams hit 17 two-point shots and four free throws. The difference was behind the trey arc. Wahkiakum converted eight three-pointers; La Conner netted nine.

La Conner’s meeting with Warden, formerly a 1A school, was even more thrilling though the outcome was less rewarding for the Lady Braves.

“It was a great game between two outstanding teams,” Novak said of a contest that went to an extra session after the teams deadlocked 59-59 at the end of regulation.

Warden clinched matters with a 13-7 spurt in overtime as game-high scorer Kiana Rios buried five of six free throws enroute to a 36-point effort.

Teammate Jaryn Madesen had 23.

Harper led La Conner with 16 points, including a nine-for-13 night at the charity stripe. Cook (15), Swanson (13), Marble (11), Cram (9) and Aubrie Sloniker (2) also landed in the scoring column.

“It was definitely the type of game,” Novak said, “that you’d expect to see at the Spokane Arena.

And one – after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted – fans will likely see again as both programs return much of their respective rosters next year.


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