HELIX - The Helix Grizzlies earned their first trip to the Class 1A State Girls' Basketball Tournament in 20 years Saturday, beating Umpqua Valley Christian 58-30 in front of a packed house.
Coach Dean Fouquette estimated an attendance of 1,700 and said bleachers were brought in from Pendleton to accommodate the overflow.
Helix used its size to dominate the boards, out-rebounding the Monarchs 46-18 in the contest and getting double-doubles from Chyanne Hack, Whitney Meulink and Meghan Schroeder.
"We really had a size advantage and our big girls responded," Foquette said of the trio, who combined for 36 points and 34 rebounds.
The Grizzlies out-scored the Monarchs 41-17 after the first quarter.
Though the coach said the size advantage would likely even out at the ultra-competitive state tournament, he feels good about the team heading into the final bracket.
"They're a good group of kids and they're so unselfish," he said. "I tell them they're getting better every game, and they really are."
It will be Helix's fifth trip to the state tournament, which will be in Baker City beginning Thursday. Helix's quarterfinal match is against the winner of Southwest Christian and Crow and will tip off at 8:15 p.m.
All five of the Grizzlies' previous trips to the tournament were between 1982 and 1989, and the last time the school won the championship was 1983.