WHITE SALMON - Bickleton's Lady Pirates ended a nearly three decade drought last night, earning a State tourney berth by defeating nemesis Trout Lake, 54-39, and knocking them out of the 1B District tournament.
"We frustrated them," said Bickleton Coach Emily Barnhart. "We came out really strong and played an aggressive defense and they just kind of fell apart."
At long last, Barnhart said, "Everything just kind of came together for us."
Ahead 25-14 going into the half, the Lady Pirates were challenged during the third quarter when Katelynn Clinton fouled out. Clinton managed a double-double despite no third quarter play, tallying 18 points and 13 rebounds.
But Barnhart credits much of Bickleton's win to defensive players Jamie Venema and Jenna Mount. Venema's job was to guard Trout Lake's high scorer, Liz Vogt. "Once she figured out how to get in front of her, she stopped scoring," said Barnhart. Vogt, who normally tallies points in Clinton's fashion, was held to just 11 points for the night.
"She's their big scorer...we did a good job of shutting her down," Barnhart said. "She averages about 20 points a game."
Mount guarded Katie Arnell, Barnhart noted. "She's a big scorer, as well."
Star Kibby and Morgan McBride finished the night with 14 points apiece for Bickleton. Kibby also notched seven boards. Venema chipped in four points for Bickleton, as did Aymie Osborne.
Now, said Barnhart, the Lady Pirates must defeat Sunnyside Christian's Lady Knights on Friday and Saturday in Mabton to claim the 1B District title.
Should they lose, Bickleton has still earned a State seed.
"It's been 29 years since Bickleton's gone to State," Barnhart said.