ROYAL — The SCAC East girls standings look a little like the carnival shell game, round, round she goes, where she stops nobody knows.
Royal beat Connell. Warden’s only loss of the season is to Connell. And with Warden’s 64-37 victory over Royal Saturday night, the Cougars (15-1, 10-1 SCAC East) have now swept the Knights (11-5, 5-3) during the regular season.
The log jam at the top will be settled next week when Warden travels to Connell (11-4, 7-1), but for the time being, the Cougars’ win at Royal City gave them some separation with the third-place Knights.
“Royal was the team to beat tonight and we came in here and took care of business without looking down the road. Now our eyes are fixed on Connell,” Warden coach Josh Madsen said. “We had a good game plan and we executed it well. The energy and effort was solid and we gave a good team effort.”
Kiana Rios scored 12 of her game-high 27 to help the Cougars take a 28-15 at the intermission. But the real nail in the coffin came with a 12-1 run to open the second half. The Knights were on their heels and never did respond.
“Our attitude was to go right at them right away. Personally, I wanted to score and push the ball a lot in the first half,” said Rios, who had seven third-quarter points. “The run in the third quarter was meant to go right at them and show them what we have.”
Bailey Whitney, who became just the third player in Warden girls history to surpass 1,000 career points earlier in the season, agreed.
“We get along really well and if someone’s on, we try to get the ball to them and tonight it was Kiana,” she said.
Royal sophomore Chenoa Louie drained a 3-point goal to break the third quarter run and later came down with an offensive rebound and the putback to open the fourth quarter. But by then the damage had been done.
Louie finished with 10 points and eight rebounds to lead the Knights. Rios had a game-high 27 for the Cougars. Whitney added nine and Jaryn Madsen had eight.
Warden has a non-league game with Cascade on Tuesday, then a couple of SCAC East games on the weekend, including the showdown at Connell on Saturday. Royal is still in the postseason discussion with four teams on the lower half of the standings yet to play.
Warden 15 13 16 18 - 64
Royal 7 9 10 8 - 37
Warden - Ellie Conahan 2, Jaryn Madsen 8, Bailey Whitney 9, Kayla Golladay 2. Aubree Skone 5, Kiana Rios 27, Rylee McKay 8.
Royal - Janae Mercado 2, Emma Wilhelm 4, Aliyah Finch 3, Josie Phillips 3, Chenoa Louie 10, Makayla Sanchez 2, Raylie Wardenaar 7, Marla Pacheco 2.