Selah girls basketball team battles to end, dropping final two games

Despite a valiant effort, the Selah girls basketball team was eliminated from the CWAC district playoffs on Feb. 18 with a 60-57 loss to Toppenish in the SunDome.

The Vikings survived a loser-out game Feb. 11 against Wapato, winning 54-46 to advance to the CWAC quarterfinals, where they lost to Prosser 59-40 on Feb. 13. That set up the loser-out game against Toppenish.

Even with the early exit, Selah head coach Rick Hartman was pleased with his team’s performance this season.

“We finished tied for fifth, but we were only a couple points from being second,” he said. “Our league is pretty even this year, but we’re feeling pretty good about our chances. We split with Prosser and played East Valley down to the wire both times. If just a few things had gone our way, we could’ve finished in second place.”

Before falling to Prosser and Toppenish in the CWAC tournament, the Vikings had won three of four, with their only loss coming to top-seeded and undefeated Ellensburg in the regular season finale. The Vikings finished 10-8 in the CWAC and 11-12 overall.

A big reason for their success this season was the play of freshman post Kylie Sherman, who was named the league MVP by the coaches. Sherman, who was battling a foot injury late in the season, still managed to put up 21 points and 20 rebounds against Wapato, pushing the Vikings through to the quarterfinals.

“Kylie was our most consistent player all season and she really deserved to win,” Hartman said of Sherman, who posted season averages of 19.6 points, 12 rebounds and 4.5 blocked shots.

Two other freshmen, Jaisha Gibb and Kieryann Mattson, joined Sherman in the starting lineup, with Gibb earning all-conference honorable mention. Mattson took on an increased role in late December when sophomore Jayden Horton went down with a foot injury, but she has returned the past couple of games and is already contributing on both ends of the floor.

“If Jayden hadn’t gotten hurt, she probably would have been in the all-conference discussion as well,” Hartman said. “We’re looking forward to having her and our three freshmen back next season. They’ve gained a lot of experience that’s really going to help us.”

Hartman also applauded the leadership of his five seniors: Ashlynn Hall, Roni Rasmussen, Kaleigh Dalrymple, Madysen Muir and Jade Wold. Hall and Rasmussen started alongside Sherman, Gibb and Mattson for most of the season, while Wold filled the sixth-man role.

The seniors voluntarily took the younger players under their wing, and Hartman believes that is why the Vikings were able to overcome the loss of so many key players to graduation.

“The seniors have been phenomenal, and they’ve really embraced the younger kids,” he said. “I’ve never had a senior group bond with the freshmen like they did this year, and that has been a huge reason for our success.”