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TACOMA — The Kingston Buccaneers are showing plenty of grit as injuries and soreness have started to pile up.

Winning sure makes those bruises feel better.

Kingston held off a persistent effort by the River Ridge Hawks to win a loser-out Class 2A West Central District girls basketball game 45-39 Tuesday at Bellarmine Prep.

Kingston will play another loser-out game Thursday against Eatonville at 6 p.m. at Curtis High School.

Kingston’s Sierra Denning is fouled on her way to the basket by River Ridge’s Caitlin Yenne in a district playoff game Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, at Bellarmine Prep. Kingston won 45-39.
(Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

Taped ankles, bad knees, ice bags, muscle pulls and general soreness have been the topic of discussion by Kingston’s players of late, but the Bucs (15-8) aren’t about to let that stop them from achieving the ultimate goal of a state tournament appearance.

“We’ve wanted this forever,” senior post Avy Hiner said. “The senior class has never gotten this far before and this is a team that can do it. We can go all the way.”

Kingston’s Avy Hiner jockeys for position under the basket against River Ridge Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in a district playoff game at Bellarmine Prep. Kingston won 45-39.
(Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

“We’re banged up but these girls are tough,” Bucs coach Charles Deam said outside the locker room. “They’re very tough. And I’m not saying injuries as an excuse but I’m saying it to show how tough they are. We’ve got a lot of nagging injuries and I’m proud of these girls and how they dug down in a close game. They could have rolled over.”

Leading 20-18 at halftime, the Bucs fell behind River Ridge in the third but a scoring spurt put them back in the lead 32-30. Despite the Hawks’ best effort and ability to keep the game close Kingston never played desperately or strayed from the gameplan.

Lead changes and ties dominated the fourth period but when Lily Beaulieu’s 3-pointer gave the Bucs a 39-37 lead they never looked back.

Freshman Morgan Halady found herself wide open under the basket for an easy layup and a free throw by Lily Beaulieu gave Kingston a 42-37 lead with 20.6 seconds left. River Ridge was forced to foul and Kingston finished 4-for-6 from the line to put the game away.

Deem said the growth of the team from the beginning of the season till now has been nothing but trending upward.

“No matter what the score is these girls never quit,” he said.

Hiner is feeling confident in her teammates and is ready for Thursday’s matchup against Eatonville.

“We’re going to win, I can tell you that,” she said. “We want it more than they do. We just have to follow the gameplan.”

Kingston guard Leetsah Team dribbles past River Ridge’s Margaret Zilla in a 45-39 win at the West Central District tournament.
(Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)
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