Basketball postseason: West Seattle High School girls lose rematch with Cleveland

(UPDATED 11:25 PM with word of WSHS’s next opponent)

(WSHS’s Lani Taylor at left)

Photos by Patrick Sand
Story by Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

One week after beating last year’s state champion Cleveland in the Metro League title game, the West Seattle High School girls couldn’t quite repeat the feat. This afternoon’s final score in the district-third-place game at Bellevue College was Eagles 57, Wildcats 54.

Despite two consecutive losses, WSHS gets one more chance to advance, and will find out later this weekend who they’ll play next.

Like the last West Seattle-Cleveland faceoff February 13th, this one was close throughout. WSHS’s 9-2 lead midway through the first quarter was the biggest lead either team ever opened, and it didn’t last long. Cleveland took the lead for the first time, 13-12, with the first of Giavanni Flowers‘s five 3-pointers, just before the end-of-quarter buzzer.

Though the Eagles threw everything they had at the Wildcats’ Lydia Giomi (above), double- and triple-teaming her most of the times she got close to the basket, Giomi still led WSHS scoring with 20 points.

The Wildcats’ defense worked hard to keep Cleveland from getting too far in too often, but with more than half their 57 points coming on 3-pointers, the Eagles were able to work past that strategy.

As the second quarter began, Lexi Ioane (above) got the lead back for West Seattle. A bit of seesawing ensued, and every possession was hard-won – one struggle even led to a jump ball (with the “alternate possession” rule, WSHS won that one). The Wildcats had the edge on rebounds and steals, but the Eagles’ defense kept them from getting many clear shots.

Cleveland’s Joyce Harrell was hurt with three minutes to go in the first half. WSHS got the lead back shortly thereafter, on a three-pointer by Izzy Turk (below).

A minute later, West Seattle was up by four. But by the end of the half, two 3-pointers by Cleveland led to a 24-22 lead as the teams headed for the locker rooms.

Starting the second half, the Eagles picked right up where they left off, with another 3. WSHS answered with a layup by Ioane (WSHS’s third-leading scorer today with 10). Fans on both sides stepped up the shouts – from the Wildcats’ cheerleaders, DEFENSE! DEFENSE! – and the battle raged on.

WSHS took the lead back with a basket by Charli Elliott (above), who took a painful spill a moment later; pulled up by her teammates, she stayed in, and carried on. They extended the lead to 35-30 with three minutes to go in the third quarter, but Cleveland’s subsequent five unanswered points brought that to a tie, and the quarter ended 40-39 Cleveland.

The final quarter wasn’t any less intense than the first three. Nobody broke away. The score was tied 49-49 with 3:15 to go after a dramatic series of plays.

Annalisa Ursino (above) brought the ball upcourt, got it to Ioane, who passed it to Emily Fiso (below), who shot and missed, got the rebound, shot and missed again, got the rebound, finally a basket for the tie.

That could have been a turning point – but Cleveland fired off a fast three pointer. A bucket from Fiso (the Wildcats’ #2 scorer today with 13) made up two of the points. After Cleveland missed two foul shots, a Giomi basket put the Wildcats up by one, 53-52 … but they were outscored 5 to 1 in the remaining minutes, and that was the difference; they had the ball with five seconds to go, and got it to Fiso for an outside shot, bringing the WSHS fans to their feet – but it was off the mark, and so the game ended, 57-54.

The two losses today and Thursday (to Juanita, 51-48) were the first since the only two that WSHS had experienced all season, and both of those were in the MaxPreps holiday tournament in California. Now head coach Sonya Elliott‘s squad has six days to rest until one more chance to keep the postseason going; we should know soon who they’ll be playing and where/when, and we’ll add that here when we know.

11:25 PM: According to our partners at The Seattle Times, WSHS will next play Sumner, which lost its district-title game today; here’s a look at Sumner’s roster. (The official brackets will be filled out here on Sunday.)

3 Replies to "Basketball postseason: West Seattle High School girls lose rematch with Cleveland"

  • dsa February 21, 2015 (9:54 pm)

    Great action shots Patrick.

    • WSB February 21, 2015 (10:45 pm)

      Thanks, dsa – he’s early watch so he’ll see this in the morning.

  • Silly Goose February 22, 2015 (9:30 am)

    I love the intensity that shows just how hard these girls are playing!!

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