La Conner rebounds from early deficit to easily defeat Chief Leschi at regionals
March 2, 2022
The La Conner girls’ basketball team has punched its ticket to the State 2B quarterfinals in Spokane tomorrow morning.
But not before taking an early punch from Chief Leschi in a regional round matchup that La Conner won 91-54 at Everett Community College Saturday.
The No.1-ranked Lady Braves found themselves trailing Chief Leschi 21-19 at the end of the first quarter. The team from Puyallup did not miss a shot until late in the frame.
“I told the girls in the huddle after the first quarter that we had been punched in the face but were able to take it,” La Conner head coach Scott Novak told the Weekly News.
Before long, it was Chief Leschi that was on the ropes, unable to withstand a stifling defense and a three-point barrage from senior guard Juna Swanson.
Swanson buried five treys en route to a game-high 23 points.
Two of Swanson’s three-pointers came in the pivotal second quarter when her team went on a 24-9 run to take a 13-point halftime lead.
From that point, the Lady Braves did not look back.
Sarah Cook joined Swanson in helping ignite the turnaround. She scored nine of her 20 points in the second period.
Ellalee Wortham, Ellie Marble, and Josie Harper also had double-digit scoring.
Wortham netted all 16 of her points after intermission. Marble contributed 14 points, five in the first quarter. Harper chipped in a dozen points with a three-pointer.
Novak took pride in both his team’s attack and defense that allowed them to rebound from the early deficit.
“We stepped up our defense the rest of the game,” Novak noted, “and that was the difference.”
Next up for La Conner is a 10:30 a.m. Thursday tipoff at the Spokane Arena with either Warden or Wahkiakum. They play today in the Lilac City.
Novak is glad to return to Spokane after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time his team played there, in 2020, they returned with a second place state tourney trophy.
Novak felt going into last weekend’s regional contest in Everett that Chief Leschi would be a formidable foe. But he couldn’t have predicted that the
Lady Warriors would be next to perfect for much of the first quarter.
What didn’t surprise him was his team’s ability to bounce back.
“There were several nice plays on both ends of the floor by our girls,” he said. “I’m really proud of them.”