Bend High is in the state playoffs.

The Lava Bears won 60-35 at rival Summit Tuesday night to clinch a top-three spot in Mountain Valley Conference girls basketball. Bend plays at West Salem Friday for second place in the MVC.

“We knew we needed to come out hard and we’re all excited to get a shot at playoffs and state,” said Kaycee Brown, who scored 21 points, including 17 in the first half, to lead Bend.

After a back-and-forth first four minutes of the game, Brown made two baskets to begin an 8-0 run and give the Lava Bears a 15-8 lead with 2:30 remaining in the first period. Bend then outscored the Storm 21-8 in the second quarter to take a 40-23 lead into halftime.

“We knew we had an advantage with our posts and if we didn’t have something down low we could count on our guards to hit the 3,” Brown said. “I think we definitely trusted each other today and played really well together.”

The Lava Bears won every quarter, outscoring Summit 12-5 in the third and 8-7 in the fourth to add to their lead.

“Our focus from the beginning was there,” said Bend assistant coach Ryan Echman, who served as the head coach with Allison Gardner out with the flu. “Summit’s a great team. They’ve beaten some really good opponents. For us to come out and execute like we needed to, that shows a lot for where we’ve developed and how far we’ve come.”

Bend forward Caitlin Wheeler scored 13 points and guard Sydney Gardner added 11 points.

Summit coach Lynette Landis said the Storm looked tired from playing four games in the last six days, including three against the MVC’s top teams — South Salem, West Salem and Bend.

“Bend came out with a great game plan and executed it well but our kids just struggled tonight,” Landis said. “They struggled with the physicality of Bend and the magnitude of the night, and the stress of the last six days just started taking its toll on them. Kudos to Bend. They were a great team tonight and they deserved that win.”

Summit was led by Hope Neibauer’s 15 points.

The Storm finish the regular season Friday at McKay.

“We’re trying to take it one game at a time and even one possession at a time,” Echman said. “That’s been the focus with these kids is to make sure they understand that every play is important and every team is important. So now we’re looking at West Salem. We want to make sure we finish strong.”

­­— Reporter: 541-383-0307, dwiley@bendbulletin.com

22558460