By AJ MAZZOLINI
PENDLETON — Whitney Koehnke floated off the court at the Pendleton Convention Center with her right arm raised in the air. On her outstretched hand — the one that guided in 13 points during the Class 2A girls’ basketball championship game — three fingers triumphantly pointed.
Koehnke’s Regis Rams (27-3) completed a trifecta and a mini dynasty by knocking off the Scio Loggers 59-49 Saturday night for their third straight state title. But this year’s was by far the most special, she said.
The girls that formed the infrastructure of each team know each other all too well. Regis picked up state title No. 2 last season with a 41-21 victory over Scio and the Loggers knocked off Regis twice in the regular season this year. With each team hailing from the Tri-River Conference, Saturday marked the fourth time they set foot on the same court during this year’s campaign.
Scio (27-3) took the first two in league play, establishing themselves as an early favorite. But Regis got the one both teams will remember, the Rams’ Kasse Keudell said.
“I honestly did doubt us a little bit at the beginning (of the season) after those losses,” she said. “We didn’t play our best but I think it was for the best then because we realized it wasn’t going to be handled to us. It made it all sweeter that we could beat them when it mattered.”
Scio lost the championship game on the boards, said Codi Shull of the Loggers. Regis picked up 47 rebounds. Fifteen of those came on the offensive end that allowed for 10 second-chance points.
“Really in the first two games we did a lot better controlling the boards and we kind of lost them there (Saturday),” said Shull, who scored a game-high 21 points.
Early fouls also came back to nip the Loggers after 12 were called on Scio in each half. The Loggers ended with three starters on the bench via foul out and saw Regis shooting two in the bonus very early in the second half.
Keudell led the Rams with 14 points and Koehnke scored a double-double by adding 10 rebounds to her night.
On the other side, Scio’s top rebounder was Riley Graham with 11 boards, and Paige Graham contributed 12 points.