(Cashmere, WA)…Despite a rather “off” night for Cashmere’s offense, the undefeated Bulldogs still rolled over Chewelah 62-36 in a CTL/NEA Glue Crossover playoff game at Cashmere High School.
Freshman Hailey Van Lith paced Cashmere’s offense with 29-points while senior Abbie Johnson chipped in 19 as the Bulldogs improved its record to 22-0 and advance to not only the regional tournament, but because of a #1 RPI ranking in the state, an automatic berth to the State 1A Tournament.
Cashmere looked out of sync offensively in a first quarter that saw the Bulldogs build a 16-9 lead in the first 8-minutes. Coach Brent Darnell says they didn’t start very well, “our communication was not good at all, especially on the offensive end.” He said, “I thought we were a little too urgent, playing in fifth gear on offense. We were doing a good job defensively but on offense we didn’t shift down, a little too much one-on-one.” Cashmere’s defensive pressure forced Chewelah into more turnovers than points in the first half (19 turnovers, 14 points).
The visiting Cougars began the second half on a 13-to-5 run before Van Lith scored 7 consecutive points to put any thought of a Chewelah comeback pretty much out of mind. Van Lith says she’s happy to remain undefeated and qualify for state. “It feels great knowing we get to take that next step and that we know we can make it far at state,” she said.
Johnson is excited to have the chance to end her Cashmere career in the Sundome in Yakima, “It feels awesome, especially with this team. It’s a special experience to be able to go with this team, with our chemistry…it’s just something I will always remember.”
Cashmere will face the state’s #8 seed, which could be either Mount Baker or Zillah, in a regional matchup next Friday or Saturday. A win would catapult the Bulldogs into the State 1A Tournament quarterfinals. A loss would mean another game in the first round of the state tournament against a lower-seeded winning regional team.