SPOKANE — Neah Bay was banking on making some shots and playing with pace in its Class 1B girls basketball state semifinal against Pomeroy on Friday night at Spokane Arena.
Instead, the Red Devils (23-3) were forced to play the Pirates’ slow, deliberate way and were blanked for much of the first half, scoring just six points on 2 of 21 shooting in the opening two quarters, and ultimately falling 44-29 to the Pirates (21-5).
Neah Bay will play Sunnyside Christian (23-3) for third and fifth place today at 1 p.m.
“Tough shooting night and that’s the way it is,” Red Devils coach Tony McCaulley said.
“I thought the fight was great, I thought we fought until the bitter end and I like that part. We were tight at the beginning, and I hate to say it, but our freshmen played like freshman a little bit there in the first half. The bright lights got to them a little bit, the shots were short, they weren’t falling for us. And we just tightened up.”
Pomeroy’s 6-foot-sophomore post Maddy Dixon scored six points in the game’s first four minutes before Neah Bay’s Gina McCaulley put the Red Devils on the board with a 3-pointer with 4:08 left in the first quarter.
That shot was half of Neah Bay’s first-half scoring output, the other came 10:08 of game time later on a bucket by Patience Swan.
Continued struggles with their shots, some turnovers before the Red Devils could get into their offense and foul trouble on Courtney Swan, the team’s leading scorer, all played parts in the team’s woes.
“They were prepared well for us,” McCaulley said. “We didn’t set good picks, we didn’t come off well on their picks, they stalled our offense a little bit. And we just didn’t run it.
“And that’s being a little bit young and getting cut off and going to a different spot and those are just things that we will continue to have to work on. When you play a quality team, one of the best teams in the state…if we hit a few shots [it would have been a closer game.] And that’s what we were banking on — hitting shots and playing fast — and we played their game and it was slowed down.”
Meanwhile, Pomeroy’s 3-point shooting got going as the Pirates hit four treys in the second quarter, highlighted by three 3s from freshman Emma Severs.
Pomeroy led 21-6 at the break and it got worse before it got better for Neah Bay, with the Pirates remembering they had a 6-foot post player going against a Red Devils team with no player taller than 5-9. Dixon scored six early points in the third and led 29-6 with 4:05 left in the third quarter. She finished with a game-high 16 points.
“We struggled without a big too,” McCaulley said. “And its hard, they are a good shooting basketball team and for us to have to play zone it makes it tough on us.”
To it’s credit, Neah Bay fought back going on a 23-9 run and pulling within nine points with 2:30 to play when Gina McCaulley drained a 3 from the top of the key.
“I’m happy with the team,” Tony McCaulley said. “We fought back. “It’s a bitter pill to swallow, sure, but if you told me at the start of the season that this group would be playing in the state semifinals I would take that.”
Pomeroy 44, Neah Bay 29
Neah Bay 3 3 9 14 — 29
Pomeroy 7 14 12 11 — 44
Neah Bay (29)
McCaulley 8, P. Swan 7, Greene 6, C. Swan 5, Yallup 2, Moss 1, Winck, Svec.
Dixon 16, Severs 14, Smith 13, Watko 1.