by Josh Liebeskind, SWX Content Coordinator - email
Reardan won its third straight girls 2B title on Saturday.
Players dove after loose basketballs, collided and hit the ground with thuds, and filled Spokane Arena with exaltations of joy and frustration.
It was the type of heated affair you come to expect between league rivals. Make the prize a state championship, and the intensity ratchets up a few dozen notches.
At the end of the slugfest that was the girls 2B state title game, it was Reardan who stood in the ring of victory after a 67-52 win over Northwest Christian, making it a record three straight championships.
"It's the best feeling anyone could ever ask for," Kelsey Moos said with a huge smile plastered across her face. "Especially being a senior, I couldn't ask for a better way to go out. I'm so proud of my teammates and our community."
The game was much closer than the final score indicates due to an excess of free throws in the final minutes. Midway through the fourth quarter, Northwest Christian battled back from an 11-point deficit to get within four, at 46-42.
But Reardan had an answer, as Charlene Gray and Chantel Heath dropped back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the lead to 52-42.
From there it was an exchange of buckets, defensive stops and turnovers, but Northwest Christian was not able to get within nine again.
Reardan star Kelsey Moos had to play cautiously after picking up her second foul with 2:18 left in the first quarter and her third early in the second half. Despite foul trouble, Moos was able to dominant the game, finishing with 28 points and 15 rebounds.
"She didn't make some smart choices, but she's anxious, she wants to win it," Reardan head coach Ed Shields said. "She wants to go out and win it, but there's five minutes. Most games in her career, it's been won in the first five minutes."
Northwest Christian had led 24-22 at halftime, but Reardan roared out of the locker room with a 16-3 run.
"We were sitting in the locker room at halftime and we just kind of looked at each other, our seniors knew we want to pull it out, we didn't want to go out on that note," Moos said. "Our team came together, we played together, we had a great second half and pulled out the victory."
Courtney Gray kept Northwest Christian in the game with 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting, as she was able to get into the lane almost at will. Chanel Knight added seven points and seven rebounds for the Crusaders.
"Northwest is a young basketball team, they're going to be back," Shields said. "They may even win next year. They're tough, they're the future."
But it isn't the future yet. Tonight, it's Reardan who gets to celebrate.
"Wooo," Moos yelled after cutting down a piece of the net. "Gonna celebrate."