The nationally ranked Bears nearly triggered a running clock in beating Woodinville 70-39 for their second state championship in three seasons.
TACOMA — The Central Valley girls basketball team capped one of the most dominating seasons in state history with one final gem in the state title game.
The Bears’ defense forced 27 turnovers which directly led to 27 points as Central Valley clinched its second Class 4A state championship in the past three seasons with a 70-39 victory over Woodinville Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome.
The Bears from Spokane Valley have gone 81-1 in that span and are ranked No. 2 in the nation in USA Today’s Super 25 computer rankings.
“It feels great. I don’t know how to put it into words,” tournament MVP Lexie Hull said, “but … we’ve put a lot into it and getting the championship really means a lot.”
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Stanford-bound twins Lacie and Lexie Hull led the way for Central Valley (27-0), which sprinted out to a 10-1 start and never let up. Lacie tallied a double-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and six steals and Lexie netted 13 points with six rebounds.
The Hulls, along with fellow senior Hailey Christopher who added 12 points and five steals, left the game to hugs from coaches and raucous applause from the Central Valley fans with a 36-point lead and 4:29 remaining in the contest.
“These seniors are amazing and I love them to death,” Central Valley coach Freddie Rehkow said. “They’ve given me every single ounce of energy, heart and hustle that they can. They deserve this. I told them we were going to get this for them. … This is the way that group needs to go out. They’re 100-6 in four years. Amazing.”
The Bears increased the lead to 42-11 at halftime. Central Valley limited Woodinville to 19 percent shooting (4 for 21) in the first half, and the defense continued to swarm the Falcons until the final whistle.
The game was four points away from becoming the first 4A or 3A championship game to feature a running clock due to the 40-point mercy rule.
“27-0,” Rehkow said. “You don’t talk about undefeated until you’re undefeated. Right now we’re done and we got back to the top of the mountain. … (The trophy) is going to look good back in the trophy case at Central Valley.”
Central Valley topped Woodinville 67-50 at the Bears’ holiday tournament in late December. In that same tournament, Central Valley topped Bellarmine Prep, which beat them in the state quarterfinals a year ago, to avenge their lone loss in the last three seasons.
“Last year was such an upsetting time for us,” Lacie Hull said, “and knowing that we finally could come and prove ourselves this year and that we finally accomplished that is just an amazing feeling. … We didn’t want to leave anything on the court.”
Alena Coomar led the way with 11 points for Woodinville (24-5), which secured its highest finish at the state tournament. The Falcons’ three previous wins in the state tournament had gone into overtime, with two points serving as Woodinville’s largest margin of victory in those contests.
“I’ve been here coaching girls basketball for the last 10 or 12 years, and I don’t know that I’ve seen a better defensive team come through,” Woodinville coach Scott Bullock said. “(It’s) their length and they’re well-coached. All the passing lanes, you think are open. They’re not open.”
• First team: MVP, Lexie Hull, Central Valley; Mia Hughes, Woodinville; Jamie Loera, Moses Lake; Keeli Burton, Eastlake; Lacie Hull, Central Valley.
• Second team: Ellie Boni, University; Jordyn Jenkins, Kentridge; Claire Dingus, University; Gina Marxen, Eastlake; Madison Dubois, Woodinville.