3:34 PM: An almost-down-to-the-wire victory for the West Seattle High School girls in their must-win opening game at the state 3A championships – they just beat Arlington, 50-45 at the Tacoma Dome. They were up by just 1 with less than a minute and a half ago, but fought to widen the margin and net the win. More details, plus photos, later. Here’s a highlight from the last minute before halftime:
HALFTIME at Tacoma Dome, girls' 3A championships: West Seattle HS 28, Arlington 21. (Video: Final min of half, Wilson basket for WSHS) pic.twitter.com/a5UJtmg60Q
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) February 27, 2019
Next up for the girls – Mt. Spokane, 2 pm Thursday, also at the T-Dome, which is where the WSHS boys start their state-tournament play tonight at 9 vs. Capital.
ADDED 5:53 PM: Here’s how the game played out:
Fouls ran the risk of costing the Wildcats the game in the late going; #11, junior Meghan Fiso (5 points), even fouled out – but her teammates managed to close the deal on the win.
West Seattle got on the board first, with a basket by #20, senior Grace Sarver (11 points), followed by one from Fiso. Arlington’s #2 Hailey Hiatt (16 points), who had a hot hand with 3 threes in the game, got her first one after that, and it was 4-3. The Eagles played close and took the lead midway through the first quarter. WSHS was plagued by cold shooting and was down 13-9 going into the second quarter.
Their defense was tough and kept Arlington from gaining ground beyond that. A little over a minute into the second quarter, West Seattle got the lead back. Arlington worked hard to try to stifle them, doubleteaming Wildcats even in the backcourt, but West Seattle managed to cut through. Fiso got a three and they were up 17-13 at 5:44. Five unanswered points by the Eagles – foul shots included – put them back on top, but West Seattle – also aided by foul shots – took it back and built on it.
#22 senior Jayla Wilson got a basket (see the tweeted video above), #21 Julianna Horne got a foul shot, and at the half, West Seattle led 28-21.
The second half had a rocky start on both sides. No one scored until an Arlington basket slightly more than two minutes in. Horne answered quickly with her own for WSHS. Then Hiatt hit another three.
#11, senior Jasmine Gayles – the day’s leading scorer wth 23 points – added a layup. Sarver adde a foul shot. The lead was back up to eight. Arlington couldn’t gain ground, and was down by 10 – 40-30 – with 1:40 left in the third quarter, but managed to halve that to 40-35 by quarter’s end.
A five-point advantage with a full quarter to go meant it was anyone’s game. Almost two minutes in, Gayles was the quarter’s first scorer with a basket, 42-35. Not long after that, Fiso fouled out. A Sarver basket put the Wildcats up 44-35 – but Arlington went on another run and was back by just three 44-41, with three and a half minutes left in the game.
A Sarver basket extended the lead – then an Arlington three-pointer took it down to two 46-44 with just a minute and a half to go. Too close for comfort.
WSHS fouls gave Arlington ample chances at the line to gain ground and they got as close as 46-45. Gayles then committed an offensive foul – her fourth – but Arlington didn’t convert on the resulting possession.
#34, senior Anissa Babitu, added two much-needed points with :31 left; WSHS regained possession quickly and Arlington had no choice but to foul. Gayles put two clutch free-throws in, and that was the final score – 50-45, WSHS victory.
Gayles was chosen for the Wildcats’s sportsmanship award:
Head coach Darnell Taylor‘s Wildcats took third place at state last year.