No. 11 Central Valley rolls past No. 23 Westlake and into GEICO finals

Photo: Dennis Schneidler, USA TODAY Sports Images

No. 11 Central Valley rolls past No. 23 Westlake and into GEICO finals

Geico High School Nationals

No. 11 Central Valley rolls past No. 23 Westlake and into GEICO finals


MIDDLE VILLAGE, N.Y. — The girls basketball team from Central Valley (Spokane, Wash.) hasn’t faced much national competition, but after going 82-1 over the past three years, the Bears don’t get rattled easily.

Stanford-bound forward Lexie Hull had 30 points and 13 rebounds to lead Central Valley (28-0) to a 70-57 defeat of No. 23 Westlake (Atlanta) in the second semifinal Friday at the GEICO High School Nationals.

The Bears, who also had 14 points from Hailey Christopher, will face No. 10-ranked Hamilton Heights Christian (Chattanooga, Tenn.) in the championship on Saturday (10 a.m., ESPN2).

“We got rattled a little bit today,” Central Valley coach Freddie Rehkow said. “But most of them have played in the (national) AAU tournament and they are used to this type of competition. Everything that was fired at us, we just tried to get it back.”

The Bears’ flight was delayed in Denver and they got in late to New York on Thursday. That led to a short practice Thursday night in preparation for Friday’s game. They showed no ill effects, however, taking a 16-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“We’ve just grown up knowing defense and having that in the back of your mind,” Hull said.

“They’ll be playing defense on the bus back to the hotel,” Rehkow said. “We just got our state championship shirts and on their back it says, ‘Our defense wins championships.’ We’re tall but skinny, but if we’ve showed one thing, we’re going to play and not back down.”

Westlake (30-2), its AAAAAAA state champion, was paced by combo guard Anastasia Warren with 25 points Texas Tech-bound wing Taylor Hosendove with 17.

“Their transition offense was very good,” Westlake coach Hilda Hankerson said. “We didn’t slow them down early in the game. I believe we were a little star-struck in the beginning. The moment was huge and we weren’t playing in our game. Once we got into our defense, the energy was flowing.”

Lexie Hull had 17 points in the first half, as the Bears led 37-20 at the break.

Follow Jim Halley on Twitter at: @jimhalley


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