It was an important Northwest League girls basketball game Wednesday night at Knappa, where the Lady Loggers celebrated Senior Night with a 40-27 victory over Nestucca.
The win clinched a spot in the league playoffs and brought the Loggers (7-9) to within a half-game of Nestucca (7-8) in the league standings. The two teams could be headed for a possible three-way tie for fourth in the league, since Nestucca’s final game is Friday against Faith Bible (12-3). Mannahouse Christian (6-9) hosts Columbia Christian (4-11).
“Part of our pre-game talk was focused on owning the moment and letting our playoff fate be in our hands, rather than hoping other teams win or lose on Friday,” said Knappa coach Tracie Brockey. “The only way to guarantee us a playoff game was to win tonight, and the girls rose to the challenge.”
After Friday’s games, she said, “I expect there to be some ties.”
The Loggers started all five seniors: Aiko Miller, Katie Denny, Sophia Carlson, Madelynn Weaver and Bayle McCall.
An injury had kept Miller out of the lineup since Knappa’s first battle with Neah-Kah-Nie, but she was able to play 11 seconds of Wednesday’s game.
Knappa won with its usual defensive pressure, finishing with 16 team steals.
“We held their usual top two scorers to eight points and one point, with neither of them getting a field goal in the first half,” Brockey said. “Our players guarding them worked their tails off, and I think it frustrated our opponent. Only one player from either team scored in double digits, but it was a grind defensively.”
Carlson led the Logger offensive attack with 11 points, to go with four steals.
Katelynn Weaver had nine points, seven rebounds and five assists, “and facilitated the ball well tonight while still making some great finishes at the rim,” Brockey said. “Bayle McCall played an excellent game tonight. She poured in eight points, shot in rhythm, grabbed some key rebounds and made some great defensive plays. She gives you everything she has anytime she steps on the court.”
Vicki Ramvick and Hannah Dietrichs both had double-digit rebounds, as Knappa dominated Nestucca at both ends of the floor — a big turnaround from the Jan. 17 game at Nestucca, won by the Bobcats, 60-42.
“There’s nothing quite like winning a game in your gym on possibly your last night of playing at home with a big crowd,” Brockey said. “We even had our super fan from the late ‘90s attend the game, all dressed in Logger gear. I think the night will be a great memory for our seniors. All the girls have come a long way this season, but we aren’t ready to be done yet.”
Playoff games next week will likely be Tuesday or Thursday.