Columbia rolls on

Northeast 1B District starts on WednesdayColumbia High (20-1) easily captured the Panorama League girl’s basketball tournament and top seed to this week’s District 7 1B Tournament.The Lady Lions, with only a non-league holiday tournament loss to top-ranked, two-time 2B state champion Reardan to mar an otherwise spotless record this winter, earned the top seed to the District 7 tournament with a 52-34 win over Cusick (13-7) in the Panorama title game Saturday night at Kettle Falls Middle School. Mackenzie Parrow and Elizabeth Larrew scored 12 points apiece to lead CHS.Columbia outscored Cusick 22-6 in the second quarter.Cusick earns the league’s second seed to the district tournament against the 1B Bi-County League.In the game earlier on Saturday at Kettle Falls for third and fourth seed, Wellpinit got 19 points from Sami Jo Parr in a 52-44 win over Selkirk (15-7).Wellpinit (8-13) used an 18-11 fourth quarter run and Parr’s hot hand to secure the upset win and third seed to District this week.Parr scored 11 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter.Dani Flett added 14 points for the winners.NORTHEAST DISTRICTThe Northeast 1B girl’s district gets underway on Wednesday at the home of the higher seeded teams.Columbia will host the winner of the Valley Christian (5-11) vs. Inchelium (7-11) loser-out game that was played on Monday. Odessa-Harrington (9-11) hosts Wellpinit in an opening round game on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Almira/Coulee-Hartline (17-3) will host Selkirk in another opening round game Wednesday at 6 p.m.In the final opening round girl’s game of the double elimination tournament, Cusick will host Wilbur-Creston (8-10) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.Second round games will continue on Saturday and on Feb. 15. The championship and seeding games will be played on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Deer Park High School.A group that hates losing more than they like to winColumbia High girl’s coach Mindy Flett was pleased with the way her veteran team played last week.“This is a talented group of girls that have played together for a very long time,” Flett said of one of the top 1B girl’s teams in the state for the past three seasons. “That is their greatest strength.”Flett says she also appreciates her team’s commitment, competitive nature and the support from the team’s parents.“This group really hates losing more than they enjoy winning,” Flett pointed out. “I think I am the opposite of that. I guess that pretty much makes me the most competitive person on this team.”Flett worries about the team’s schedule. The schedule hasn’t been particularly rigorous. Sure, there were games against 2B powerhouse Reardan and with ACH, but outside of that, the Lady Lions haven’t been tested in the Panorama this winter.“We really haven’t had the competition we need to test our resolve and prepare us for what is probably our best shot at the gold ball (state championship trophy) this season,” Flett said.“We have dominated some games that I thought would be closer. I have tried to encourage the team to work on fine-tuning our offense and those defensive progressions in order to gain that confidence needed later on in the tournament run.”Columbia, currently ranked no. 2 or 3 in the latest Class 1B girl’s rankings, depending on the poll, finished third at State last March after beating Pomeroy, Moses Lake Christian, Lopez Island and losing to ACH. The Lady Lions rebounded for third place with a win over Sunnyside Christian.While defending champion Colton will be the odds-on favorite to successfully defend, Flett isn’t conceding anything.Colton the favorite“We have the horses to make a deep tournament run this season,” she said. “Colton is still the team to beat. They are very deep, well-disciplined and well-coached. They know what it takes to win championships.“Given our chance, I believe that we have the experience and the players to make that goal of a gold ball reality.”