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Greyhounds dominate in girls basketball Class 2A district opener

Feb. 14—PULLMAN — Basketball is a game of runs, and a pack of Hounds would know about runs better than anybody.

Sophomore guard Grace Kuhle and senior post Ryli Bednar combined for 36 points to lead Pullman to a season-high 68 points in a 68-22 Washington Class 2A district tournament win against East Valley of Spokane on Tuesday in Pullman.

It was arguably the most balanced showing of the season for the Greyhounds (7-14). They exhibited decent three-level scoring and showed proficiency in two different styles of defense to get the postseason win against the Knights (1-20).

"It's going to be a challenge on Thursday so I was happy to see us put some good things together and play really well together," Pullman coach Angie Barbour said. "Some really good passing tonight, we played some good defense, our rebounding was great — all the things that we really wanted to do."

Here's how Tuesday's 2A Greater Spokane League district game played out:

Greyhounds go on a run

To start the game, Pullman's game plan was to get the ball inside on offense and make East Valley uncomfortable with a man-to-man defense.

The first few minutes of the game, the strategy seemed to work. But the Knights were able to figure out the Greyhounds' strategy and started to telegraph passes and force turnovers, and Pullman squandered a couple of early fast-break opportunities — which led to an 8-8 tie with 2:20 left in the first quarter.

It was the last time East Valley didn't trail in the game.

The Greyhounds went on a tear and started to look for shots outside the 3-point line to keep the Knights on their toes and avoid easily telegraphed passes. Pullman also started to return the favor on defense and forced turnovers that led to fast break scores, which made up for the missed chances.

This played to the tune of a 29-0 run for the Greyhounds, which wasn't interrupted until 27 seconds remaining in the first half when the Knights' Italia Salina hit a jump shot from just outside the key. Salina's shot left the score at 37-10 Pullman. East Valley added two more points by way of free throws before halftime.

Kuhle had 17 of her game-high 19 points during the first half and helped facilitate the run with her outside shooting (three 3-pointers in the first half) and was one of the main outlets during the Greyhounds' fast-break opportunities. Another main outlet for fast breaks, and one of the home team's two go-to options inside, Bednar, had 12 of her 17 total points in the first half.

"I think we went out there with confidence," Kuhle said. "And the past few games we've been going out there and we just didn't have the energy. This game we really had the energy. And we went out there and played as a team."

Second-half adjustments favor Greyhounds

In the second half, the Knights employed a box-and-one defense to prevent other Pullman scorers from getting opportunities, and had Salina in the rover role with the focus on stopping Kuhle.

Salina, who's listed as three inches taller than Kuhle, held the sophomore to two points in the second half, but the rest of the Greyhounds were still effective against East Valley's adjusted defense.

Pullman scored 29 points in the second half and adjusted its own defense, switching from a man defense to a zone, which led to the Knights scoring just 10 across the third and fourth quarters.

East Valley upped its defensive intensity in the second half, which led to foul trouble. The Knights already had three fouls with 7:12 remaining in the game. That left the visitors with their hands tied on defense for the remaining seven minutes and the Greyhounds were able to further bolster their lead to the 46-point win.

All-league honorees

Several Pullman players received their all-league certificates after the game.

Bednar was named to the all-league first team, Kuhle was named to the all-league second team and senior guard Jennabee Harris and senior post Sophie Armstrong were named all-league honorable mentions.

Kuhle and Bednar also finished the regular season fifth and 10th, respectively, in the 2A GSL for scoring. Kuhle finished the regular season averaging 15.4 points per game and Bednar averaged 9.2 a game.

Players of the night

Kuhle (19 points) and Bednar (17) combined for 36 points for the Greyhounds. They scored a combined 29 of their 39 total points in the first half.

Up next

Pullman will play West Valley at 6 p.m. Thursday at West Valley High School in Spokane in a loser-out district tournament semifinal game.

EAST VALLEY (1-20)

Italia Salina 2 1-4 5, Abby Moore 3 0-0 7, Weather Salinas-Taylor 1 2-2 4, Emmery Fatzinger 0 0-0 0, Hannah Rasmussen 0 0-0 0, Fasai Xiong 0 0-0 0, Jocelyn Weger 1 0-0 2, Jadyn Thomas 0 0-0 0, Abigail Dach 0 0-0 0, Ava Payne 2 0-0 4. Totals 9 3-6 22.

PULLMAN (7-14)

Bri Rasmussen 2 0-0 5, Grace Kuhle 7 2-2 19, Olivia Whitworth 1 0-0 3, Sophie Armstrong 2 0-0 4, River Sykes 3 2-5 8, Ryli Bednar 7 3-4 17, Jennabee Harris 1 0-0 2, Taylor Cromie 0 0-0 0, Eloise Clark 3 0-0 8, Lynnsey Biorn 1 0-0 2. Totals 27 7-11 68.

East Valley 8 4 6 4—22

Pullman 15 24 15 13—68

3-point goals — Moore, Kuhle 3, Clark 2, Rasmussen, Whitworth.

Kowatsch can be contacted at 208-848-2268, tkowatsch@lmtribune.com or on Twitter @Teren_Kowatsch.