The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline
Sports Editor 

Timberwolves trending in different directions

Girls win 3rd straight, eye 5th spot in league standings

 

Jaryd Cline

SPLITTING THE DEFENSE: Junior Sierra Plum splits the defense of Vanessa Ordaz, left, and Amber Thompkins for a lay-in during Monday's win over Lyle-Wishram.

The Goldendale girls basketball team may have been out of the running for a spot in the South Central Athletic Conference district playoffs, but that didn't discourage the Timberwolves from finishing the season on a strong note.

After beating the Lyle-Wishram Cougars 67-23 on Monday night in Goldendale, the team's winning streak hit a season-high three games behind an all-around effort in which four girls finished with double digits in points.

Last week, the Timberwolves knocked off SCAC rival Naches twice, and now sit a half-game back of the Highland Scotties for the fifth spot in the conference standings at 6-10 overall and 3-8 in SCAC play.

The team seems to be playing some of its best basketball as of late, and third year head coach Mike Plum is impressed with the trust the girls have shown in each other as the season winds down.

"That bond has always kind of been there," Plum said.

Although the discussion of Goldendale's top player starts and ends with senior forward Ocean Bryan, it was unknown whether she was going to lace up the sneakers in the winter while she focused on volleyball. The team prepped without her throughout the summer and Bryan decided last minute that she wanted to play.

"The core group of girls all trust each other, and having Ocean there is just even more special," Plum said.

As of late, the Wolves have shown that they can play and compete without one of the top players in the conference.

During Saturday's 55-44 win over the Rangers, the Goldendale Gym was given a scare after Bryan went down hard trying to save a loose ball in the second quarter. She walked off the court with help from Plum and didn't return until the game's final minutes.

The team really didn't miss a beat without Bryan until early in the fourth when Naches clawed back from a 14 point deficit to cut Goldendale's lead to four (44-40) with 2:40 to play. Although the Timberwolves didn't panic and got a few defensive stops after the Rangers' Piper Lucas hit a few 3-pointers.

Junior guard Allison Gilliam answered a Naches triple with a dagger of her own with a minute left to give Goldendale a 10 point lead and the second-straight win over the Rangers.

Saturday's game was somewhat similar to Tuesday's road contest with the Rangers in which the teams battled back-and-forth in a classic fourth quarter Plum described as awesome basketball.

The Rangers were able to tie the game at 47 with a few minutes to play after Goldendale had been leading most of the night, but the Timberwolves didn't wilt. They hung tough, like they've done in similar scenarios throughout the year, such as the Dec. 10 road matchup with the Royal Knights where they were able to win in a hostile environment.

With around 1:30 left, Gilliam banked in a three and was fouled and was able to get her own rebound on the missed free throw, and the Timberwolves converted some late free throws to escape with the road win.

But after an up and down year where the Timberwolves weren't at full strength for many of their games, Goldendale will finish its home slate of games with Friday's senior night matchup with the Granger Spartans.

Before playing the Spartans, the No. 5 Class 1A team based on the WIAA RPI rankings, Goldendale will honor its three seniors, Bryan, forward Hailee Bigbie and guard Teresa Dunlap.

Cougars, Timberwolves

Although their record might not indicate it, the Lyle-Wishram Cougars have shown steady improvement each week under first year head coach Vernon Letourneau.

 

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