BASKETBALL: West Seattle HS girls finish 20-win season as #6 in the state

(WSB photos)

9:33 AM: Congratulations to the West Seattle High School girls for another successful season. The season finale just finished at the Tacoma Dome, with the Wildcats bringing home the 6th-place trophy from the state 3A tournament after a 38-33 loss to Snohomish HS. This was the third consecutive year they made it to state; many of the regulars are seniors. Details and photos when we get back to HQ.

ADDED 1:53 PM: The game began with one of the WSHS seniors, #4 Kelsey Lenzie, singing the anthem, part of which we recorded:

The 33-point total was the lowest for the Wildcats all year (season high was 88 in their December game against Bainbridge). Neither team had a particularly hot hand today, but rebounding was what hurt them again – Snohomish pulled down 37, WSHS 25, meaning that too often, they would get just one chance until their opponents got the ball back.

Head coach Darnell Taylor included seniors #22 Jayla Wilson and #34 Anissa Babitu in the starting five, along with three of the regulars.

One of the regulars, #11 Jasmine Gayles (who had WSHS’s only double-digit point total today, 11), put the Wildcats on the board first, with a basket just half a minute in.

Another senior star, #20 Grace Sarver, doubled the lead with two foul shots two minutes later.(Her game total: 6 points.)

At mid-quarter, Snohomish’s #4, junior Kinslee Gallatin, hit her first of three 3-pointers fo the game. The Panthers took the lead 5-4 shortly afterward, until Gayles scored five points in the last minute and a half of the quarter, which ended with WSHS ahead 9-5.

Opening second-quarter scoring, WSHS #32, senior Meghan Fiso (9 points today), extended the lead with a basket at 6:30 to go in the half and two foul shots half a minute later.

Snohomish went on a run from there, getting within a point. A Wilson basket for WSHS provided short-lived breathing room.

Two foul shots by Snohomish, followed by a three with seconds to go in the half, sent West Seattle into the locker room behind 20-18.

They never got the lead back. Mistakes were the problem more than any kind of dominance by their opponents, including two instances early in the second half in which they simply threw the ball away. One second-half bright spot, five points by #21, sophomore Julianna Horne:

West Seattle’s #23, junior Emily Buchanan, got some second-half playing time and picked up two rebounds:

Also of note in the second half, Sarver was up to four fouls just past the third quarter’s midpoint, and that sat her down for a while. At the end of three, WSHS was down by five, 29-24. That deficit doubled (34-24) two minutes into the fourth quarter. They launched a comeback and got as close as three points, 36-33, with 2:45 to left, stepping up the defense too, to the point where Snohomish couldn’t shoot before the shot clock ran out. A critical WSHS possession ended with a turnover, and although another shot-clock violation by the Panthers followed, it didn’t matter without some WSHS points, and in the end – with fouling unavoidable in efforts to get the ball back – two more Snohomish points sealed the deal.

Time ran out. But this will be remembered for the memories made earlier in a 20-win season.

-Photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand
-Summary by WSB’s Tracy Record

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