(UPDATED 9:07 PM with details, photos)
FINAL: West Seattle HS girls beat Bellevue, 47-37. (Video: 4th Q basket by Jasmine Gayles) pic.twitter.com/rr9j46bGYf
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) February 17, 2017
(Video: 4th-quarter basket by WSHS’s Jasmine Gayles)
FIRST REPORT, 4:19 PM: “Championship game, here we come!” yelled a West Seattle High School fan, as the Wildcat girls beat defending state 3A champs Bellevue HS 47-37 moments ago at Bellevue College. They play for the district championship at 8:15 pm Saturday, again at Bellevue College, vs. the winner of tonight’s game between Bishop Blanchet and Cleveland at Chief Sealth. Photos and details from today’s game, coming up.
ADDED 9:07 PM: Photos and game summary ahead:
This was a more-confident team that netted a double-digit victory this afternoon. But it was by no means a runaway, and the Wildcats had to fight hard for the win.
One key: Rebounding. They were seldom shut out on boards.
Scoring began with a three-pointer from Izzy Turk (above). The match was fairly even in the first quarter and the score at its end reflected that, with a 10-10 tie.
The Wolverines scored first in the second quarter, but a WSHS three-pointer erased that and then some. Aggressive defense by both teams resulted in much of the shots being attempted from the outside, and that didn’t go well.
Fouls started stacking up, too. But the West Seattle girls kept battling for possession, and about midway through the quarter, Grace Sarver (above, WSHS leader with 12 points) wrangled the ball away and brought it downcourt to score a basket that put WSHS out in front by five, 17-12. The two teams subsequently traded three-pointers, and then fouls, and when the buzzer sounded to get halftime going, the Wildcats were up 25-18.
Bellevue showed signs of a comeback in the third quarter, but West Seattle didn’t let that go on for long. Jenna McPhee (above center, 10 points total) hit a three midway through the quarter, and that took the lead to eight points, 32-24. WSHS continued to control the boards. Yet more foul shots plus a three-pointer helped Bellevue to get too close for comfort, just three points behind with a minute and a half to go in the quarter, 32-29 WSHS.
More fouls – including a technical on the WSHS bench – more fast-break action, and West Seattle was hanging onto a 4-point lead at the third quarter’s end, 34-30. Still too close to feel that victory was certain.
Jasmine Gayles (10 points for the game) was the star of the 4th quarter. Her basket half a minute into the fourth quarter added two points of pad. Then she did it again less than a minute later, and WSHS was up 38-30. Bellevue got a basket but Gayles got another one to hit that eight-point margin again. The intensity continued on both sides – up and down the court, struggling for ball control. Bellevue tried to slow it down midway through the fourth quarter in hopes of recovering. They couldn’t. McPhee got the ball and hit a three, bringing WSHS out to a nine-point lead, 43-34. Shortly thereafter, Gayles scored yet again (that’s the basket in our video clip, above), and with three minutes to go, the nine-point lead started to look promising, then was stretched to an 11-point lead with another Wildcat basket.
One foul shot by Bellevue – WSHS’s Meghan Fiso (above) fouled out with her fifth – turned the numbers into what was the final score, 47-37. And we now know who the Wildcats will play for the district championship on Saturday night – Mercer Island, who this evening became the first team to beat Bishop Blanchet this season.
-Summary by Tracy Record, WSB editor
-Photos by Patrick Sand, WSB co-publisher