Historic run ends for Renton girls basketball team

Redhawks end 10 year drought, but drop first game in round of 12.

The Renton High School Redhawks girls basketball team was eliminated March 1 from the 2023 state tournament round of 12 after a loss to the W. F. West Bearcats, 58-47, in Yakima.

“This is the best team I have ever been a part of,” Assistant Coach Earl Cheatham said.

“I concur,” Head Coach Tim White added.

Renton was in a must-win situation after their win against Port Angeles last week. The Redhawks’ season came to a close with one of the most veteran groups that coaches Tim White and Earl Cheatham have ever had.

“I have always had total faith in them. They have a high basketball IQ and they play well and have the skills,” White said.

“I’m so proud of us. We came a long way as a team and a collective,” said Renton senior Nyachang Luok.

In their last game, four of the five starters were seniors. The four seniors combined to play 123 of the 160 minutes. The lone non-senior starter was Teagan Patek, who played 32 minutes, finishing with eight points and 10 rebounds.

“These young ladies got along really well,” Cheatham said.

“They play with pride and dignity and did that tonight,” White added.

The Redhawks ended their season with three players scoring in double figures — Jesselle Victo (10), Aahmani Washington (10) and Nyachang Luok (11) all led Renton offensively.

Luok gave the team all she had,. On top of her 11 points, she reeled in 14 rebounds and had three steals and an assist.

“She’s grown a heck of a lot. I believe she can play at the next level. She’s very coachable,” White said.

Renton struggled to get going offensively, only scoring five points in the first quarter. In the second quarter, more girls got involved, with four girls scoring throughout the period. Regardless, W. F. West was rolling and jumped out to a 10 point lead at halftime, thanks to a half-court heave at the buzzer.

“The nerves kind of got to me a little bit., the realization of ‘Wow we really made it’ made me a little nervous,” Luok said.

The third quarter was Renton’s best period. They came out and took it to the Bearcats, scoring 21 points and closing the gap to just a single point by the end of the period. Luok started attacking the basket, scoring six of her points in the period.

As the fourth quarter went on, Renton struggled to slow down W. F. West. It was a tough way to end the season with such a tight-knit group. Washington led Renton in scoring in the fourth quarter, going 4-4 from the free throw line and scoring a shot from the field.

“All the seniors, we have been playing since fifth grade. We kind of had to guide everyone since we got here,” Luok said.

Renton’s girls made history this year, and broke a 10-year drought just by competing in Yakima. This will always be a special group for the coaching staff.

“It’s the first time ever, in my coaching tenure, that we have won the district tournament and the league tournament in the same season,” White said.

With four seniors in the starting lineup, there is bound to be some turnover from this year into the next, but these coaches are ready for it.

“We got to put a lot of work in,” said Coach White.

“Don’t slip on our future. JV went undefeated this year,” Coach Cheatham said.

It was the end of a great and historic season for the Lady Redhawks — enjoy the Miners Burgers for a job well done.