GASTON — The state playoff hopes are still alive for the Knappa girls basketball team, which won its fourth game of the season Monday night, a 33-32 decision at Gaston in a first round game of the Northwest League playoffs.
And now it’s on to Neah-Kah-Nie for the Lady Loggers, who improve to 4-19 overall. Knappa is just two wins from qualifying for the Sweet 16.
The Loggers came into Monday’s game as the sixth place team in the NWL with a 3-11 league record, behind Gaston’s 6-8 mark. The Loggers can now set their sights on fourth-place Neah-Kah-Nie (7-7).
Knappa plays the Pirates at 6 p.m. Thursday in Rockaway Beach, with the winner advancing to play the loser of the second vs. third-place loser (Saturday in Forest Grove), for a spot in the Sweet 16.
Madelynn Weaver scored a game-high nine points for the Loggers, in one of their highest-scoring games of the season. It’s only the third time Knappa has scored 33 points or more in the last 13 games.
Weaver also had eight of Knappa’s 17 steals.
The Loggers trailed 19-14 at halftime, but then outscored the Greyhounds 12-6 in the third quarter.
Knappa held a 31-27 lead midway through the fourth quarter, when Gaston rallied and took a 32-31 lead with three minutes remaining.
The Loggers responded with a steal and score by Weaver for a 33-32 lead. And that’s how the score remained for the final two-and-a-half minutes, with the Loggers missing a pair of free throws.
Knappa had to make several stops on defense to secure the win.
“It was just a fun, exciting game to watch and to coach,” said Knappa coach Marie Green. “We just fed off the energy of their crowd.”
She added, “we came out and had a super-strong third quarter. That’s something we’ve struggled with all year. But we got hot, Madelynn had two big three’s, and we made the defensive stops that we had to make.”
Paris Vanderburg added eight points and eight rebounds for Knappa. Sophia Carlson had five steals and Aiko Miller finished with nine rebounds for the Loggers.
“The 17 steals was good, and we out-rebounded them 31-23,” Green said. “It’s the first time we’ve won at Gaston in a long time.”