WASHINGTON GIRLS STATE TOURNAMENT: Clarkston Bantams return to form, blast Enumclaw

Feb. 29—Coming off its first and only loss of the season and facing a state tournament elimination game, the Clarkston girls basketball team showed it's still the same dominant team it was all year.

The fourth-seeded Bantams blasted 12th-seeded Enumclaw by 30 points, 62-32, in the round of 12 of the Washington Class 2A state tournament Wednesday at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

The team's 49-43 loss to Prosser in the opening round was in the rearview mirror and the Bantams (24-1) were back to playing their brand of basketball.

"It is a big relief just to get that first win, especially in a loser-out game," Clarkston coach Debbie Sobotta said. "I thought the girls started off really strong tonight, played hard from the beginning, and that shows in the first quarter (being) 19-3.

"That was something we wanted to do was jump out and push the pace and play our style."

Pushing the pace was exactly what the Bantams did, bursting out to a 10-0 lead to start the game.

Here's how Wednesday's contest played out and what looms ahead in the state quarterfinals:

Making a statement early

In the opening seconds, Clarkston senior Eloise Teasley stole an inbound pass and raced down the court on the fast break. Teasley dished the ball to Alahondra Perez in the wing for a transition 3-pointer and the Bantams got on the scoreboard first.

The steal, fast break and big bucket were signs of things to come for the hungry Bantams.

Clarkston recorded four steals in the game's first two minutes, scored the game's first 10 points and led 19-3 when Teasley's fast-break layup signaled the final bucket of the first quarter.

"I just think the girls were eager to get back to their style of play, and just to let loose and play with freedom and not a lot of thinking," Sobotta said. "Just playing and reading and reacting and going for it."

Spreading the wealth

The Bantams are playing their best when multiple players are scoring at any given time, and that was the case Wednesday.

Their leading scorer wasn't even a starter.

Junior guard Lexi Villavicencio led Clarkston with 13 points off the bench, including a fast-break layup that put her team up by 30, 48-18 in the third quarter.

"We have probably seven starters and just knowing that (Villavicencio) is there coming off the bench — the same with Ella Leavitt — that's just something we know we're going to get some points out of those two players (off the bench)."

In total, 12 Bantams saw the court and 10 reached the scoring column.

Teasley joined Villavicencio in double figures with 11 points and notched eight rebounds.

Sophomore Jaelyn McCormack-Marks drew praise from the NFHS Network announcers for her defense and speed. She finished with four points, four rebounds, five assists and seven steals.

Senior Kendall Wallace added nine points and three steals, and Leavitt tallied eight points on 50% shooting.

"Everyone was able to get on the floor and see what it's like to play in this state tournament," Sobotta said.

No Hornet reached double digits, but Camryn Thomas had seven points to lead her team in scoring off the bench.

Closing it out

Wallace and Preslee Dempsey hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Clarkston its first 20-point lead heading into halftime up 33-13.

In another flurry of 3s, Teasley, Wallace and Ryann Combs each hit triples in a short span to extend the lead even further early in the third quarter.

Clarkston outscored the Hornets 25-8 in the third quarter and coasted in the fourth.

The Bantams had 19 steals for the game and held Enumclaw to 20.8% shooting.

On to the quarterfinals

Eight teams remain alive for the 2A state title.

Clarkston will play sixth-seeded Archbishop Murphy (20-5) of Everett at 12:15 p.m. today back at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

The winner advances to the semifinals and the loser falls to the loser-out semis for the fifth-place game.

"We know they're a very strong team," Sobotta said. "They have a couple extremely good guards and shooters, they play physical, they rebound hard, so we are in the process of prepping for that and preparing our game plan for them."


Ellie Schmidt 1 0-0 3, Natalie DeMarco 1 0-2 3, Kalee Swanson 1 3-4 5, Lilly Atkins 0 1-2 1, Clare Largent 0 0-0 0, Kaidyn Johnson 1 0-0 3, Sydney VanHoof 0 0-2 0, Camryn Thomas 3 0-0 7, Bella Firnkoess 2 1-2 5, Ellie Ward 0 2-2 2, Ava Smith 0 0-0 0, Emma Holt 1 1-4 3. Totals 10 8-18 32.


Jaelyn McCormack-Marks 2 0-0 4, Kendall Wallace 3 1-2 9, Olivia Gustafson 0 0-0 0, Preslee Dempsey 1 0-0 3, Ryann Combs 1 0-0 3, Aneysa Judy 1 0-0 3, Eloise Teasley 5 0-0 11, Ella Leavitt 4 0-0 8, Tatum Sevy 1 0-0 2, Alahondra Perez 3 0-0 6, Joey Miller 0 0-0 0, Lexi Villavicencio 5 2-4 13. Totals 26 3-6 62.

Enumclaw 3 10 8 11—32

Clarkston 19 14 25 4—62

3-point goals — Schmidt, DeMarco, Johnson, Thomas, Wallace 2, Dempsey, Combs, Judy, Teasley, Villavicencio.

Wiebe may be contacted at (208) 848-2260, or on Twitter @StephanSports.