(UPDATED 11:55 PM with photos, video, details)
FIRST REPORT, 9:45 PM: We’re at Bellevue College, where the West Seattle High School girls have just won the SeaKing district basketball championship, 58-50 over Mercer Island. The Wildcats were never behind, but it got close in a few spots. Photos, video, and game details to come.
ADDED 11:55 PM: Here’s how it happened. The Wildcats started off with a roar – for WSHS fans, it was an electrifying first quarter.
West Seattle scored first, Mercer answered quickly, and the 2-2 tie half a minute into the game was the only point at which WSHS did not lead.
#10 Jenna McPhee‘s three-pointer at 7:15 was the first of three 3’s for her in the quarter, six for the team overall – two by #4 Kelsie Lenzie – representing 18 of their 22 first-quarter points. But hot outside shooting, enabling them to literally get over the Mercer Island defense, was just part of what had them ahead 22-8 at the end of the first quarter. They dominated the boards and guarded MI closely.
In the second quarter, Mercer Island fought harder. They racked up eight unanswered points to get to 22-16 before WSHS #3 Izzy Turk hit a three-pointer midway through the quarter. Within a minute, #20 Grace Sarver got her first basket of the game:
End of 1st half, West Seattle girls 36, Mercer Is 25. (VIDEO: Sarver basket in 2nd Q) pic.twitter.com/pCLocV12hP
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) February 19, 2017
The Wildcats controlled the last few minutes of the half and went into the locker room ahead 36-25.
#11 Jasmine Gayles added to that near the start of the second half; a basket by #32 Meghan Fiso, top Wildcat scorer on the night with 15, widened the lead two minutes later to 40-26.
And that’s when Mercer Island stepped up their game again. After six unanswered points, they were just eight back, at 40-32. The Wildcats’ Lenzie was knocked down and had to be helped off the court. Shortly thereafter, the ball got stuck on the rim of the Mercer Island basket. And in the ensuing moments, MI went on another run, particularly their senior star Anna Luce. At the end of the third quarter, West Seattle’s lead had been slashed to three, 46-43.
But the Wildcats weren’t going to let this one get away. Rilcy Newsome added two in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Gayles – second-leading scorer for WSHS tonight with 12 – and Sarver followed, with MI picking up only two points along the way, and midway through the quarter, WSHS was ahead 52-45.
That wasn’t enough of a pad to get complacent, though, as demonstrated by a Mercer Island three-pointer taking almost half of it away. But they didn’t get any closer than four points back – and 54-50, with about 1:30 to go, was the last time they saw that margin. A Gayles basket on an assist from Fiso put West Seattle up 56-50 with 1:12 to go; on MI’s next possession, Luce had a rare miss. Fiso pulled down the rebound, and MI started fouling in last-minute desperation. Izzy Turk got both ends of a 1-and-1 and that brought things to the final score, 58-50 – leading to this jubilation:
We’ll find out later this weekend who and when head coach Darnell Taylor and the district-champion Wildcats play next.
(Here’s the link for the regional and state brackets, once they’re set).