Ridgefield Spudders girls basketball advances to Yakima SunDome


The Spudder girls have not been to the state playoffs since head coach Lauren Hefflin was on the team in 2007 — until now.

The Ridgefield girls basketball team is advancing to the top-12 at the Yakima SunDome after its 59-46 victory over Kingston High School on Friday, Feb. 23, in the opening of the state playoffs.

The victory and getting to Yakima completed a goal for senior combo guard/forward Elizabeth Swift.

“It’s been Swift’s goal since I talked to her last season,” Hefflin said about getting to Yakima. “Like, ‘What do you want to do next season?’ It was, ‘Get to Yakima.’ ”

Advancing to the Hardwood Classic in her senior year, Swift is taking it all in while keeping a sharp focus on the game.

“It means everything to be with this group of girls,” Swift said about advancing in the postseason. “To be able to get through these hard moments together and say we have done what we set out to do is incredible.”

Swift commanded the floor in Friday’s game, keeping her teammates calm while they faced challenges in the game.

“Trusting the process, trusting the work that we’ve done. We can take a deep breath. We know what we’re doing. Let’s clear our minds and think of the next play,” Swift told the players in huddles during breaks in the action. “We’re fighting every step of the way, and we’re going to try to get as far as we can, one game at a time.”

Despite the 13-point margin of victory, Kingston kept it close in the first half. With exterior offense not clicking as strong as usual, the Spudders looked to senior forward Morgan Goode for points in the paint. Goode finished the opening round matchup with 13 points.

“Passing the ball and really going for the offensive rebounds and doing what we can,” Goode said of her team’s success after their first half adversity.

Goode understood the raised stakes for the playoff game as she said she gave it everything she had in case it was her last moments with her team.

With this Spudders squad new to the state playoffs, Hefflin has offered them guidance from her own Ridgefield postseason experience.

“A huge part of our conversations have been the mindset of playing in the postseason and learning how to play in adverse situations with different routines, different spaces,” Hefflin said. “... That’s been a huge part of our conversation, as well as recovery and understanding that we’re in the third month now, deep in the third month of the season, and they’ve been working hard since day one. So, talking about what we do to recover. What’s our sleep schedule? Are we hydrating? Are we eating the right kinds of foods? All those basic things.”

The Spudders will travel to the Yakima SunDome for the top-12 of the 2A state playoffs. They meet with their 2A Greater St. Helens League rival, the Columbia River Rapids, on Wednesday, Feb. 28 in the round of 12 in a loser-out matchup.