PENDLETON – Madison Hull had a spectacular three-game run in the OSAA Class 2A state tournament.
It was enough to get No. 2 seed Western Mennonite to the championship game Saturday against No. 1 seed Monroe.
But the unbeaten Dragons (28-0) were ultimately too much for the undersized Pioneers (23-8), and prevailed 52-40 at Pendleton Convention Center.
“It wasn’t the outcome I wanted, but either way we won,” Hull said.
Considering where the Pioneers came from to get here, it was a memorable journey.
Former head coach Robby Gilliam resigned due to health reasons in November, and there was some discussion about the Pioneers not fielding a team this season. But Mike Hopper took over as coach and Western Mennonite persevered, getting all the way to the state championship game.
“I don’t feel like we lost this game. We got beat,” Hopper said. “They played a phenomenal game. I think Monroe earned every W.”
So did the Pioneers, who emerged as Tri-River Conference playoff champions.
Hull, a senior guard/forward, set the all-time 2A girls tournament scoring record with 82 points. She scored 13 points in the first half Saturday as Western Mennonite stayed close, trailing 20-17.
Monroe went inside to open the third quarter and scored the first eight points to push the lead to 28-17. Junior guard Peyton Hopper (Mike’s daughter) hit a 3-pointer to end the run, and Western Mennonite remained within striking distance, down 37-29 after three quarters.
Hull picked up her fourth foul on a charge with 7:31 remaining and the Dragons maintained their advantage the rest of the way.
In her final high school game, Hull scored 22 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. She averaged 27.3 points and 13.3 rebounds in the Pioneers’ three tournament games, scored 82 of the team’s 131 total points, and was named to the all-tournament first team.
Sophomore guard/forward Annika Hess scored 12 points in the championship game for the Pioneers and was a second-team all-tournament selection.
Western Mennonite defeated No. 7 seed East Linn Christian in the quarterfinals, and No. 3 seed Kennedy in the semis to reach the championship game. A Tri-River team had won the previous six state championships.
The Pioneers made deep state tournament runs in all four of Hull’s seasons. They were state champs in 2015, third last season, and state runners-up her freshman season in 2014.
“The Lord’s been good to me,” Hull said. “I’m just so thankful for His blessings.”
Hull began coming to the state tournament in grade school and grew up in a basketball family. Her dad Gary, is the boys basketball coach at Western Mennonite, and younger brother Keaton is a sophomore guard for the boys team that earned a third-place trophy Saturday.
“She’s been awesome,” Gary Hull said. “I’ve coached her and my son since the second grade, and I had her travel team for five years. It’s been a blast. It’s a special dad and daughter relationship.”
Madison Hull hasn’t decided where she’ll play college basketball next season, but she certainly made her mark in high school hoops.
ghorowitz@StatesmanJournal.com, or Twitter.com/ghorowitz
MONROE 52, WESTERN MENNONITE 40
Western Mennonite: Hull 22, Hess 12, Hopper 3, Foster 3, Pack, Choi. Totals: 13 9-13 40
Monroe: Gwillim 12, Knaggs 11, Greene 10, Ballard 7, Stahl 6, Martin 6, Langley. Totals: 18 11-18 52
W. Mennonite – 4-13-12-11 – 40
Monroe – 12-8-17-15 – 52
3-point field goals: W. Mennonite 5 (Hess 2, Hopper, Foster, Hull); Monroe 5 (Knaggs 3, Ballard, Martin)