Ridgefield girls basketball tumbles Tumwater, 55-28, in district opener


The Ridgefield girls basketball team rolled past Tumwater High School with sound defense setting up the offense in a 55-28 district-opening victory on Friday, Feb. 9.

All season long, Abigail Vance has provided an extra spark coming off the bench, and her effort shined in the postseason opener for the Spudders.

“I think all year she’s played that role so beautifully, and she’s one of the hardest-working kids at practice every single day,” head coach Lauren Hefflin said. “She earns every single minute she has. But it’s that ability to not be scared to get that first sub in and just know that the level is not going to be the same, but it’ll probably be raised because she’s not only looking to score, but she’s looking to facilitate, and on a team of a lot of girls that look to score, it’s really nice to have someone that’s looking to pass.”

The game started with a low-scoring first quarter for both teams, but the Spudders opened it up in the second with a long run to close the first half 27-13. They kept their momentum rolling in the second half, which allowed Hefflin to look to her full bench to gain valuable postseason experience.

“One of my assistants was like, ‘Hey, let’s get them in earlier than we normally would just so they get those jitters out so that if they need to be playing, they’re not going to be nervous,’ ” Hefflin said. “So, I think it’s a testament to the whole squad with how they support each other. They push each other in practice, and it was just a really great collective game tonight.”

The Spudder girls have been solid from beyond the arc throughout the season and picked up a number of 3-pointers in Friday’s game, as well.

“Well, we practice it a lot. I mean, we know we’re a team that if they’re open, they have a green light,” Hefflin said. “We shoot a lot of 3s at practice. We shoot contested 3s. We don’t ever hold them back from shooting 3s other than if it’s like a pass-only type of drill. But no, I think it’s something that we’ve leaned into because these girls want it.”

Hefflin added that having a home game with a loud student section and the entire crowd was a boost to her Spudders in their postseason game.

The Spudders next played W.F. West of Chehalis on Monday, Feb. 12 at Mark Morris High School in Longview for a chance at the state tournament, but results were not available at press time. If Ridgefield won, they will advance to the district 4 championship game at Kelso High School to take on either Black Hills or Columbia River at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16. If the Spudders lost, they will play in a loser-out game at W.F. West High School in Chehalis on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 7:45 p.m. against either Hudson’s Bay or Washougal.