By Dave Schreindl
the Times 

D-W Girls basketball fight to the end at the District tournament


February 20, 2020

GRANGER—The Dayton-Waitsburg girls basketball team put its entire heart and soul into its final contest of the season in a difficult loss to DeSales 60-43 at the 2020 Eastern Washington Athletic Conference tournament.

Part of the difficulty was coming off a brutal loss to Tri-Cities Prep Jaguars the night before and having to face the DeSales Irish for the second time in a week.

“The D-W ladies went down fighting and played with a lot of heart,” said Assistant Coach Desirae Jones. “We got within six in the third quarter, but the Irish pulled away in the last four minutes of the game.  We had a pretty rough time the night before against TCP, so for them to regroup and play like they did shows a lot about what kind of team they are fighting to become.”

The loss meant D-W finished the season 3-19, 3-9 in league play, an improvement over last year.

“We end the season 3-19, but this does not reflect how much they improved throughout the year,” Jones said. “We lose four seniors: McKenzie Dobbs, Destiny Brincken, Kira Boggs, and Kirsten Miller.”

It was a tough way for the seniors to end the season, but they were proud of what they had accomplished.

“I am proud of the game even if we lost, we worked hard and as a team,” Brincken said.

“It was a well fought game,” Dobbs said. “Even though it didn’t end the way we wanted, we played with heart.”

“ It’s sad that we don’t get to move forward, but it was a good game to end the season on,” Boggs said.

Dayton-Waitsburg played back-to-back games as a result of their first game against the Jaguars being moved to Monday from Saturday because of flooding in the region. So, heading into the second game after a blow out, it was up in the air as to what might happen.

The girls came to play and played with pride and effort and showed their determination early in the contest. After winning the tip off, freshman Claudia Benavides scored from next to the hoop on an assist from Boggs. Benavides, who has been a powerful offensive force was held to just six points. It was not for lack of trying, but rather an effective game plan by the Irish to defend her.

Junior Sadie Seney, part of the dynamic forward duo, switched up her game. Rather than scoring most of her 18 points from her traditional post spot, she connected four times from three-point range thus making it hard for DeSales to guard her.

Five quick points midway through the first quarter by the Irish made it seem like D-W might not have the energy to keep pace. A three-pointer from junior Mackena Culley and then by Seney showed the crowd that Dayton-Waitsburg was going to compete the entire 32 minutes.

A rough second quarter brought doubts back as to whether or not this would be a close contest. D-W was plagued in those eight minutes with multiple turnovers and a foul by Benavides, her third ,which kept her and her key offensive abilities on the bench. At the half, DeSales led by 12 points, 29-17.

The first half also provided some interesting entertainment from off the court issues. The game started late as a result of the time required to find a suitable basketball. Dayton-Waitsburg as the home team provided a basketball. But it was deemed not usable per WIAA athletic post season rules, meaning that only a Spaulding basketball could be used because it is an official WIAA sponsor. It took almost 10 minutes to procure one so play could begin.

The other snafu took place between the first and second quarters. As the home team takes care of the official scorebook, an issue arose as to the number of fouls DeSales star freshman Morgan Thomas had. For whatever reason the Irish claimed she only had one foul, but the official scorebook had her down for two. This played a factor later in the second quarter, when Thomas picked up a foul that could be either her second or third depending on which scorebook was correct. DeSales coach Tim Duncan used his right to state he was playing the rest of the game under protest, but in the end, it didn’t factor into the outcome.

D-W used the intermission effectively as they came out of the locker room with more energy and fire in their eyes as they scored the first five points on an offensive rebound and put-back by Benavides and a three-point shot by Boggs. D-W was able to close the gap to six points with 26 seconds left in the third quarter on three-pointers by Boggs and Cassidy Laughery.

But two inbound play conversions put the lead back at 10 for the Irish early in the fourth quarter. Over the final eight minutes D-W fought hard but just couldn’t make their open shots and DeSales pulled away by making theirs for the 60-43 win.

A nice side note is that recently promoted varsity player junior Samantha Davis, hit a trey for the team’s final points of the game.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final

DeSales 20 9 12 19 60

Dayton-Waitsburg 12 5 16 10 43

DeSales (60): Wahl 19, Thomas 14, Arceo 14, Buratto 11, Jimenez 3. 3-pts: 7-21, Wahl 3, Buratto 2, Skaarup, Thomas. Fouls: 12. Turnovers: 8. Free Throws: 7-13. Rebounds 42.

Dayton-Waitsburg (43): Seney 18, Boggs 8, Benavides 6, Culley 3, Davis 3, Laughery 3, Forney 2. 3-pts: 9-29, Seney 4, Boggs 2, Culley, Davis, Laughery. Fouls: 17. Turnovers: 18. Free Throws: 2-4. Rebounds 34.

Tri-Cities Prep 71, Dayton-Waitsburg 20

The outcome to this game seemed to be unfortunately written before the tipoff. The Dayton-Waitsburg girls basketball team had played the Tri-Cities Prep Jaguars a week earlier and it seemed from start to finish that the team had their thoughts elsewhere, probably at home where many family and friends were still dealing with the effects of the flooding.

“The DW girls were not mentally prepared for this game,” Jones said. “TCP came out strong and we stepped back instead of stepping up to the challenge.  We did not take care of the ball or aggressively attack the basket.  Kira Boggs played with a lot of heart and made things happen when nobody else would.” 

While D-W faced a mountain of emotion, they also faced a sea of arms. One couldn’t but help watch as D-W moved the ball around on offense that there weren’t any apparent openings with that stifling defense.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final

Dayton-Waitsburg 8 4 3 5 20

Tri-Cities Prep 21 17 14 19 71

Dayton-Waitsburg (20): Benavides 9, Boggs 6, Laughery 3, Larsen 2. 3-pts: Laughery. Fouls: 7. Turnovers: 46. Free Throws: 1-4. Rebounds 46.

Liberty Christian (71): Martinez 17, Chang 9, Monteon 8, Brandner 7, Dickson 6, Long 5, Balcom 5, Ghirardo 5, Boothe 4, Mortenson 3, Landram 2. 3-pts: Monteon 2, Long, Brandner, Mortenson, Martinez. Fouls: 12. Turnovers: 9. Free Throws: 3-6. Rebounds 29.

Season Wrap Up

While this team did not win as many games as they might have wanted, this 2019-2020 Dayton-Waitsburg girls basketball team will always be known and remembered for its hard work and its refusal to quit. They will also be known for the leap in growth and improvements that they made over the four months they competed together.

“This season was one I’ll definitely never forget,” senior Kirsten Miller said. “We grew so much as a team throughout the year and I got to meet and get close with such amazing teammates and coaches. I wish the season didn’t end so soon but I’m proud of how far we made it.”

D-W returns to the post season under first-year Head Coach Tamira Culley, a Dayton graduate herself.

“I am very proud of the way the D-W girls improved throughout the season,” she said. “This group of girls are a special group with a great attitude. They would get beat and come to practice every day to get better. I saw improvement in each one of the girls this year, both mentally and physically.”

The hard work ethic the girls learned will serve them well in life and for those coming back in the next season. Dayton-Waitsburg will graduate four seniors from this year’s squad. They are Kirsten Miller, Kira Boggs, Destiny Brincken, and McKenzie Dobbs.

“Kira Boggs was excellent at anticipating a pass and getting a steal,” Culley said. “Destiny Brincken was intent on drawing an offensive foul every game. Kenzie Dobbs became quite the force underneath. Kirsten Miller gave her all every game and guarded the other team’s quickest player.”

While the team struggled at times on offense, the one thing around the league the team was known for was its ever-improving defense.

“I was extremely proud of how our defense improved,” Culley said. “They turned into quite the force. I received many compliments from other coaches on their defense. That is one thing I thought the seniors really brought to the team was defensive intensity.”

The future is bright as the team returns many experienced players next year. They should include junior Sadie Seney and freshman Claudia Benavides. They combined for most of the inside scoring for D-W, although Seney started scoring more from the perimeter towards the end of the season. Benavides continued to improve as she started to play more freely and will only get better as she gains more experience. Cully said the team hopes to get some of that needed experience though summer ball.

Other players that should contribute next year are juniors Cassidy Laughery, Teagen Larsen, Kaylene Slack, Mackena Culley, and Samantha Davis. Sophomore Megan Forney and freshman Cecilia Acevedo will also bring varsity experience to the team.

“I think next year’s team will be more competitive and we will have some talented freshman that will be able to contribute at a varsity level,” Head Coach Culley said. “Next year’s seniors are a great group of leaders. With their experience and the added talent coming up, they can be successful. I am very much looking forward to summer ball. We need to get these girls stronger and playing together.”


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