BENTON CITY, Wash. — Squared off against River View at a neutral site here on Monday in a special playoff for the last available spot in the South Central Athletic Conference girls basketball postseason tournament, College Place took a 33-32 lead into the fourth quarter.
But River View rallied to dominate the final minutes, finishing off College Place with a 51-39 defeat.
Tied with the fourth-place Panthers in the SCAC East Division coming in, both finishing the regular season with 5-7 records — and having split their two previous matchups — College Place (9-12 overall) saw its season end.
“Tough loss to end our season with,” Hawks coach Julie Hill said. “River View did a good job of packing it in inside to close off our inside game. We responded with a lot of good ball movement and getting our guards open for shots. We were able to put up more shots this game than we have all season — and they were all good looks. It just wasn’t our night with hitting those open shots.”
Despite the shooting struggles, College Place managed to stay ahead of River View until the late Panther rally.
The Hawks kept themselves alive with solid rebounding and defense.
Though the Panther prevailed, College Place still finished with a 57-41 edge in rebounding.
Shea Kasenga blocked three River View shots, teammate Sumi Leavell denied a pair, and Madilyn Neil also had a block.
As for turnovers, the Hawks also limited themselves to only 16.
“The girls did a great job rebounding,” Hill said. “Defensively, we did our job.”
Kasenga was a monster on the boards, the sophomore grabbed 16 rebounds while finishing as the top College Place scorer with nine points.
The Hawks also had strong performances from a pair of seniors battling in their final high school games as Vanessa Rodriguez had eight points and classmate Courtney Meliah added four.
Neil managed five points before she fouled out, and classmate Cali Long also had five as sophomore Maeve Thompson put up four.
Sumi Leavell mustered the only other College Place field goal, and Lena Weaver converted a couple of free throws to cap Hawk scoring.
As a team, the Hawks converted only 8 of 23 attempts from the line while shooting 14-of-44 from the field.
Shooting woes eventually caught up with the Hawks when River View took over in the fourth quarter.
“Offensively, it was a frustrating night for everyone,” Hill said. “We know in this off-season, we need to become a better outside shooting team.”
College Place looks to regroup next year, though the Hawks must regroup with the loss of seniors Rodriguez and Meliah as well as classmates Kaitlyn Morrison, Susanna Bauman and Dacia Kasenga.
“I know I have girls who are motivated to make that happen,” Hill said. “I’m proud of these girls and the season they had.
“No one likes to see it end this way, but I look forward to a summer putting in the time and continuing to get stronger and better.”
Panthers 51, Hawks 39
COLLEGE PLACE (39) — Kasenga 9, Rodriguez 8, Neil 5, Long 5, Thompson 4, Meliah 4, Weaver 2, Leavell 2.
RIVER VIEW (51) — Munson 25, Boyd 9, Contrerase 7, Rodger 4, Castillo 2, Kinzer 2.
College Place 11 14 8 6 — 39
River View 9 13 10 19 — 51
3-point goals — CP 1 (Meliah), RV 2 (Contrarase, Munson). Total fouls — CP 19, RV 18. Fouled out — CP (Neil), RV (Gonzalez). Technical fouls — none. Rebounds — CP 57 (Kasenga 16), RV 41 (Munson 9). Turnovers — CP 16, RV 12. Assists — CP 6 (Neil, Weaver, Leavell, Long, Kasenga, Rodriguez), RV 2 (Munson 2).