SPORTS: Neah Bay girls win third straight state title

YAKIMA — The Neah Bay girls basketball team is starting to make a habit of this.

The Red Devils (23-2 overall) claimed their third state tournament trophy in as many years this weekend, splitting a pair of games to finish eighth in Class 1B.

Neah Bay throttled first-time state participant King’s Way (Seton) 63-22 on Friday before falling to St. John-Endicott 49-30 in the fifth-place game Saturday morning.

“Nobody likes to lose, but in the last few minutes of [Saturday’s] game the girls just had fun,” said Neah Bay coach Lisa Halttunen, who has now guided the Red Devils to state in each of her four seasons.

“It was good to see smiles on their faces even though we didn’t come away with a win.”

By finishing 2-2 for the third year in a row at state, the North Olympic League champions matched the same eighth-place finish they earned in 2008 and ’09.

Not bad considering Neah Bay had nary a girls basketball trophy three years ago.

“Hopefully we can keep [the streak of trophies] going,” Halttunen said.

“We had a pretty good season. Our two losses came from state, so I’m just really happy with the girls.”

“I had a lot of fun this year with the girls. They were a bunch of good girls.”

The Red Devils ran away from King’s Way and didn’t look back on Friday.

Neah Bay jumped out to a 12-4 lead after one quarter. Then the flood gates opened in the second, with the Red Devils outscoring King’s Way 21-2.

By that time they were well on their way to their 23rd double-digit victory of the season.

Rebecca Thompson had 13 points, four assists and seven steals, Ardis Pullen added 10 points and Alisha Kallappa dished out eight assists.

Neah Bay shot 41 percent (29-of-70), while the Knights (8-15) made just 19 percent (8-of-42) of their shots.

The Red Devils couldn’t find that same fast start the next day, as they fell behind St. John 34-16 after two quarters of play.

St. John’s Kelsey Simon ripped the nets for 16 points to lead the Eagles (23-4) to their 12th state trophy in 16 appearances.

Erica Fonzi’s six points were tops among the Red Devils, who sank just 11-of-50 shots against the Eagles.

“It was a frustrating start,” Halttunen said. “We just weren’t making our buckets. That’s pretty much the main thing [that hurt us], and turnovers.”

Neah Bay graduates three seniors — Pullen, Kallappa and Stephanie Greene — from this year’s team.

Kallappa and Greene walk away as the most decorated Red Devil girls in school history, having played on all three state trophy-winning teams.

St. John 49, Neah Bay 30 (Sat.)

Neah Bay 10 6 8 6 — 30

St. John 17 17 11 4 — 49

Individual Scoring

Neah Bay (30)

Fonzi 6, Kallappa 2, Pullen 4, Thompson 5, Winck 2, Greene 4, Moss 5, Allen 2.

St. John (49)

Winters 8, Simon 16, Luft 7, E. Schuster 2, Jensema 4, K. Van Lith 12.

Neah Bay 63, King’s Way 22 (Fri.)

King’s Way 4 2 7 9 — 22

Neah Bay 12 21 20 10 — 63

Individual Scoring

King’s Way (22)

Scott 6, Roy 1, Grant 2, Crawford 2, Cunning 4, Chan 7.

Neah Bay (63)

Fonzi 3, Kallappa 6, Pullen 10, Thompson 13, Lawrence 2, Winck 6, Greene 8, Moss 9, Allen 6.

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