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Prosser girls dismantle Tumwater for Class 2A regional win; advance to state quarterfinals

Freshman post Deidra Phillips paced the Mustangs' offense with 16 points in lopsided victory

YAKIMA, Wash. – With its No. 4 seeding in the Class 2A state tournament, the Prosser girls basketball team isn’t going to sneak up on anybody this time around after taking third from the 11th slot last March.

No biggie – the Mustangs are just fine not being the underdog.

Prosser smothered fifth-seeded Tumwater, 57-31, in regional play Friday night to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals in the Yakima Valley SunDome. The Mustangs (18-7) will have to wait until the end of regionals and the first round to know who they’ll be playing.

The Thunderbirds (19-5) will play the winner of Saturday afternoon’s regional between No. 12 Enumclaw and 13th-seeded Columbia River in a loser-out matchup Wednesday.

Freshman post Deidra Phillips played well beyond her years, scoring a game-high 16 points to lead Prosser. She did most of her damage with a solid post game, but also stepped outside to can a 3-pointer.

“She’s the greatest kid, I can’t praise her enough,” Prosser coach Kyler Bachofner said. “When it’s someone’s night, I love how our team embraces it and gives her the ball.”

The victory gives Prosser something it was without last year – a day off to take in the state atmosphere and prep for its quarterfinal.

“It means so much to us and it gives us a lot of motivation going on,” said Phillips. “Just all the time with our team like spending together next week is going to be awesome.”

Senior Kendra Groeneveld and Amia Ibarra added eight apiece for the Mustangs, who ended Tumwater’s 10-game winning streak which included a district championship.

No team scored 40 points against the T-Birds during the run, and Tumwater’s own low during the stretch had been 39. Both barriers were broken Friday, particularly on the defensive end where Prosser kept the T-Birds in single digits in all but one quarter.

“That started in districts when we had to go to Othello, and we talked about that the offense doesn’t always travel, but our defense sure can,” Bachofner said.

The Mustangs coach also credited a rugged CWAC schedule that pinned them with four losses, including three against defending 2A champion top-seeded Ellensburg, which ran its winning streak to 48 games by pulling away from No. 8 Sequim, 59-35, on Friday.

“I’m so proud of the CWAC,” he said. “Every game was a battle. I think the top five CWAC teams could’ve placed this year, but unfortunately, only three teams make it.”

Othello, seeded 10th, upended No. 15 Mark Morris on Friday to advance to Wednesday’s loser-out round.

Should the seeding hold up in the quarterfinals, Prosser would meet Ellensburg for a fourth time. Though he’s not looking ahead, Bachofner would welcome the opportunity nonetheless.

“We still have to take care of business Thursday, but we’re hungry,” Bachofner said. “We’re gonna hopefully cross that bridge when we get there and we’ll be ready for that challenge if we’re blessed enough to have it.”

The loss is Tumwater’s third straight in the state tournament. The Thunderbirds were seeded No. 1 last year, but were stunned in the regional round by eighth-seeded and eventual runner-up Burlington-Edison and then ousted by No. 9 West Valley of Spokane in the first round.

Junior Regan Brewer scored 12 of Tumwater’s 14 points in the first half before she was helped off the court with an apparent injury to her leg before halftime. She did not return to the game.

The T-Birds’ offensive struggles were compounded by the foul trouble of leading scorer Kylie Waltermeyer. The senior, who averaged 16 points per game, had just two in the first half while picking up four fouls before the break.

She finished with 10 points before fouling out.