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STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL: Colfax boys perfect heading into State

Feb. 28—The No. 3 Colfax boys basketball team (26-0) hasn't lost a game in 381 days and will play either No. 12 Wahkiakum or No. 5 Tri-Cities Prep in the quarterfinals of the Washington Class 2B state tournament at 6:15 p.m. oSaturday at the Spokane Arena.

"I knew we would have a good basketball team this year," Colfax coach Reese Jenkin said. "Did I expect us to go undefeated? No. But I think as we go from game to game, we haven't talked about that record much, to be honest. We focus on who we play this week and try to come up with the best game plan, and I think the overall record looks great, but our goal is to win the next game."

The Pullman boys (Class 2A), Clarkston girls (Class 2A), Colfax girls (Class 2B), and Garfield-Palouse girls (Class 1B) will also be competing at their respective state tournaments this week at various locations.

The flawless Bulldogs have four seniors on their roster, led predominantly by 6-foot-9 forward JP Wigen, who has recorded multiple double-doubles this season.

"I think when you look around the area, there's not a lot of guys with his size," Jenkin said. "I think his offensive output makes a huge difference, and I think everyone has benefited from that because there's not a whole lot of double-team opportunities."

Wigen has been a reliable inside force for Colfax, which has multiple sharpshooters from the outside.

Juniors Jayce Kelly and Seth Lustig and sophomore Adrik Jenkin all average double figures for the Bulldogs.

"You have different guys who can lead us in scoring on any given night," Jenkin said. "That's made us tough this year because we can kind of see how teams match up with us, and most players have two or three good players, and I think a team like that is going to have a tough time matching up with all our guys, especially with our guard play."

The Bulldogs are one of three unbeaten teams in the tournament (Columbia (Burbank) and Napavine).

"For us to be successful, we have to execute and take care of the basketball," Jenkin said. "We've been able to step up defensively in the last couple of weeks, and if they can be locked in and play smart, we'll have a chance to be successful."

Here's a look at the other area squads competing for hardware this week:

Bantams been beaming

No. 5 Clarkston fell 49-43 to No. 4 Prosser in the opening round of the Class 2A state tournament.

The Bantams are still in contention for a state title due to their top-8 seeding.

Clarkston plays No. 12 Enumclaw at 12:15 p.m. in the round of 12 today at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

The Bantams finished 26-0 through the regular season and district tournament.

Clarkston (26-1) dominated the 2A Greater Spokane League and outscored their league mates by an average of 46.4 points per game en route to a district title.

Clarkston also has wins against larger classifications and out-of-state foes, including a 45-41 decision over Downey (Calif.) at the Avista Holiday Tournament in Lewiston on Dec. 29.

"We really prepped this season and explained how it was going to work to our girls," Clarkston coach Debbie Sobotta said. "It was going to be a tough nonleague schedule, but once we got into league, it was going to kind of give us a false sense of where we were because those teams were weaker than what's out there in the state."

The Bantams' impressive run to the end-of-year tournament was possible because of their depth.

Senior guard Kendall Wallace (15.6 points per game) leads the team, and senior Alhondra Perez pitches in an additional 9.8 per outing.

Senior Eloise Teasley (9.3) and sophomore Jaelyn McCormack-Marks (8.9) have also been reliable scorers for the Bantams.

The fifth Clarkston starter, Ryann Combs, has also been a spark plug.

"She's my energy player," Sobotta said. "She meshes well with whatever combination I have out there, and she's in the right position and knows the defensive principles as well. She's a big part of our success."

Clarkston's five starters are its leaders, but it's also gotten reliable output from bench players such as sophomore guard Preslee Dempsey, junior forward Ella Leavitt and junior guard Lexi Villavicencio.

"I really feel like I have seven or eight starters," Sobotta said. "I've said it before; it's a luxury to coach a team like this with so many weapons that can put points on the board, and one thing I enjoy the most is seeing how relentless they can be on defense."

Bulldogs bring hot streak to State

The No. 3 Colfax girls basketball team downed No. 5 Rainer 57-32 on Friday in the opening round of the Washington Class 2B state tournament.

It was the Bulldogs' 17th consecutive victory.

Colfax will play either No. 11 Cle Elum-Roslyn or No. 3 Okanogan at 9 a.m. on Thursday in the quarterfinals at the Spokane Arena.

The defending state champions were 1-3 through their first four games and 4-4 through late December.

The Bulldogs (22-4) never lost again and had several impressive defensive outings along the way.

Colfax held its opponents to fewer than 20 points six times during its win streak, including a 70-7 win against Upper Columbia Academy (Spangle) on Jan. 23.

The Bulldogs are led by the No. 1-rated player in Washington, senior forward Brynn McGaughy.

The standout released her top-12 potential landing spots on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Sunday, which include UConn, Iowa, Duke, North Carolina, Washington and Indiana, to name a few.

McGuaghy had her best game of the season in a 59-55 overtime win over Davenport to claim a Washington Class 2B district championship on Feb. 10.

The senior contributed a whopping 37 points, 24 rebounds, six blocks and three steals.

Pullman prime for postseason push

The Greyhounds (17-6) used an unbeaten month of January to catapult themselves into the Washington Class 2A state tournament.

"We had to find ourselves and establish our roles," Pullman coach Craig Brantner said. "We got better defensively, and we did things that led to us not losing in January, and we only lost two games after that."

Pullman's 6-11 center Austin Hunt, who averages 11.4 points per game, began to get in shape in January, which made a huge difference.

"Once he got in basketball shape, he did a great job of rebounding and challenging shots," Brantner said. "He's also been able to get to the penetration line, and that's forced bad shots from other teams because if he jumps, it's hard to see the rim."

Senior guard Champ Powaukee leads all Pullman scorers and averages 17.7 points per game.

"He's done a great job of being a leader for us," Brantner said. "He's scoring a lot of points and getting four or five assists to go along with it. He's a leader on the floor defensively and knows the adjustment we're making. He's doing a lot of communicating."

No. 9 Pullman plays No. 8 Prosser today in the round of 12 at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

Brantner compared the Mustangs to Rogers of Spokane, who "always gives them fits."

"Teams that penetrate a lot and kick out of 3s are a tough matchup for us, and that's what this team does," Brantner said. "We got to do a good job of keeping them in front and limiting their possessions. They're averaging 72 points per game, and we're averaging about 57, so we have to keep the game in the 50s or score more than we normally do."

Vikings voyage for victories at State

Garfield-Palouse finished 11-1 in its final 12 games and knocked off Colton in a Washington Class 1B district tournament second-place game to earn a state bid.

The No. 12 Vikings downed Pateros 52-36 in the opening round of the tournament on Saturday to advance to a round of 12 matchup against Almira Coulee Hartline at 7:15 p.m. today at the Spokane Arena.

"I think a lot of it was our defense coming together," Garfield-Palouse coach Garett Parrish said. "We're pretty young, and it takes time to play together, and they bought into it."

The Vikings (17-6) are led by sophomore Elena Flansburg and freshman Kyra Brantner.

Flansburg, a 6-0 guard, presents multiple mismatches whenever she's on the court and averages 14 points per outing.

"She can shoot the ball, and she can handle it very well," Parrish said. "You have to go out and guard her. She is tall enough that she can finish around the top of people, and she does a bit of everything."

Brantner averages 13 points per game and is "super athletic," according to Parrish.

"She has great straight-line speed, and she can jump really high," he said. "She is always the most athletic girl on the court, and she can be a handful. We have to keep it under control sometimes, but she can go from end line to end line, and she's good about finishing."

Pixley may be contacted at (208) 848-2290, tpixley@lmtribune.com or on Twitter @TreebTalks.