Hanford Champion
Year: 2006
Team: Basketball (Girls)
Eastern Regional Champions
At one end of town, tears of joy. At the other, cries of frustration.

So were the fates of the Hanford basketball teams etched on the players' faces Friday night.

At Cheney High, the Falcons boys walked off the court, their season ended by a 55-47 loss to Ellensburg in the consolation bracket of the 3A Eastern Regionals.

Less than two hours later, the Hanford girls erupted off their bench to celebrate their first regional title, having beaten Clarkston 56-52 at Eastern Washington University's Reese Court.

"This is the greatest feeling," said senior Nikki DePeel, whose three-point play with 3:01 to play gave Hanford the lead for good. "No one believed we could do it, but we proved we're the greatest team on the eastern side of the state."

At least in the 3A ranks. Now Hanford will see how its game translates at the Tacoma Dome starting Wednesday. The Falcons (20-4), who already had clinched their first state berth since 1997, await the results of Sunday's draw to discover their first-round opponent.

"That was not our best performance defensively," said Hanford coach Evan Woodward, whose team was whistled for 23 fouls. "But these girls sure can gut it out, can't they?"

They've proven resilient time and again during their 11-game win streak. In Tuesday's first-round regional win, Hanford rallied from a six-point deficit in the second half against East Valley.

Then on Friday, the Falcons erased a 10-point deficit late in the first half against the Bantams (13-10), who won the Greater Spokane League district title.

"We were getting frustrated, but we've been down before and we knew how to come back," said DePeel, who led Hanford with 15 points. "Everyone just stepped up."

The Falcons eventually built a five-point lead, 44-39 with 5:17 to play. But Clarkston, stymied offensively much of the night -- it shot just 12-of-51 for the game (23.5 percent) -- fought back at the free throw line.

The Bantams went on a 9-2 run, all at the foul line, to regain the lead 48-47 with 3:13 left. Clarkston made just three baskets in the second half but went 18-of-22 at the foul line.

DePeel answered with a hard drive down the lane, getting bumped by Courtney Gleason as she laid the ball in. She hit the ensuing free throw, putting Hanford up 50-48.

"Nikki can just flat-out play," Woodward said. "That was a big play for us, and it came at the right time."

DePeel went 4-for-4 at the line in the final 2:08 and De'Chauna Skinner also hit two free throws that helped ice the victory.

Kayla Akers and Adrienne Johnson scored 11 points apiece for the Falcons.

Misty Atkinson was 13-of-14 at the foul line in the second half for Clarkston en route to a game-high 28 points.

Team Scoring Summary by Quarter

11 13 15 17 -- 56 - Hanford
12 16 8 16 -- 52 - Clarkston

Hanford (20-4): Garcia 1 0-0 2, Akers 4 0-0 11, Golden 0 0-0 0, Bond 0 0-0 0, Johnson 4 0-0 11, N. DePeel 3 9-11 15, C. DePeel 0 0-0 0, Russell 0 0-0 0, Mead 0 0-0 0, Skinner 4 3-4 11, Fredrickson 1 1-2 3, Quick 1 1-2 3. Totals 18 14-19 56.

Clarkston (13-10): Gleason 0 0-0 0, Ogden 2 0-0 4, McCann 0 0-0 0, Dodgen-Auer 1 4-4 7, Atkinson 7 13-14 28, Jelinek 2 9-14 13. Totals 12 26-32 52.

3-point goals: Akers 3, Johnson 3, Dodgen-Auer, Atkinson.
Total fouls: Hanford 23, Clarkston 19.
Fouled out: none.
Technicals: none.

EASTERN REGIONAL TOURNAMENT RESULTS (3 Teams Earn a State Tournament Berth)

February 21 Results

Game #1: Hanford Falcons 65, East Valley-Spokane Knights 52
Game #2: Clarkston Bantams 49, West Valley-Yakima Rams 42
Game #3: Ellensburg Bulldogs 59, Sunnyside Grizzlies 35
Game #4: Prosser Mustangs 66, Cheney Blackhawks 44

February 24 Results

Game #5: Ellensburg Bulldogs 56, East Valley-Spokane Knights 50
Game #6: Prosser Mustangs 61, West Valley-Yakima Rams 49
Game #7: Hanford Falcons 56, Clarkston Bantams 52 (Determines 1st and 2nd Seeds at State Tournament)

February 25 Results

Game #8: Ellensburg Bulldogs 60, Prosser Mustangs 50 (Winner Earns 3rd Berth to State Tournament)

EASTERN REGIONAL TOURNAMENT GAME SUMMARIES (FEBRUARY 24, 2006)

Ellensburg 56, East Valley 50

15 14 14 13 -- 56 - Ellensburg
14 9 19 8 -- 50 - East Valley

Ellensburg (17-8): Nethery 1 0-1 3, Sharon 0 4-7 4, Kellener 0 1-2 1, J. Hanson 0 0-0 0, Chandler 2 0-0 4, Pratt 4 0-0 8, Standish 9 9-10 33, Minor 0 0-0 0, Venera 0 0-0 0, Ferrell 1 0-0 2, L. Hanson 0 1-2 1, Totals 17 15-22 56.

East Valley (9-15): Olk 0 0-2 0, Rippee 1 1-2 3, Jacobson 1 0-0 3, Williamson 4 0-0 10, Schuerch 3 8-13 14, Hentges 1 2-2 4, Bittner 0 1-2 1, Grater 5 0-1 11, Como 1 0-0 2, Burger 1 0-0 2, Totals 17 12-22 50.

3-point goals: _Nethery, Standish 6, Jacobson, Williamson 2, Grater.
Total fouls: Ellensburg 17, East Valley 19.
Fouled out: none.
Technicals: none.

EASTERN REGIONAL TOURNAMENT GAME SUMMARIES (FEBRUARY 25, 2006)

ELLENSBURG 60, PROSSER 50: If it's the end of February it must be time for Ellensburg's girls basketball team to qualify for state.

The Bulldogs earned their fourth straight trip to Tacoma on Saturday with a 60-50 victory over Prosser in the Class 3A regional tournament at Cheney High School.

Sophomore Kayla Standish, the Mid-Valley League MVP, scored 10 of her game-high 29 points in a 17-0 run to start the third quarter.

Leading by two at halftime, Ellensburg (18-8) built a 21-point lead going into the fourth quarter.

Rebecca Sharon, who finished with 18 points, had seven in the third period as Ellensburg outscored the Mustangs 24-5 due in part to the Bulldogs' defensive adjustments.

Standish added 14 rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots, and teammate Brittany Chandler added nine points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Claire Raap and J.J. Richman had 12 points apiece for the Mustangs. Raap added six steals and Richman grabbed seven rebounds.

Jordan Brown had 10 points and five steals for Prosser (17-9).

ELLENSBURG Nethery 0, Sharon 18, Kelleher 2, J. Hanson 0, Chandler 9, Pratt 2, Kayla Standish 29, Minor 0, Venera 0, Ferrell 0, L. Hanson 0.

PROSSER Brown 10, French 0, Van Klinken 4, Claire Raap 12, J.J. Richman 12, Stearns 0, Smith 1, Gonzalez 2, Field 4, Faulk 0, Mercer 0, Dorsett 5.

Ellensburg 20 10 24 6 60

Prosser 9 19 5 17 50

Highlights: Standish (E) 14 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks; Brittany Chandler (E) 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals; Raap (P) 6 steals, 1 block; Richman (P) 7 rebounds; Brown (P) 5 steals