Viking girls brought home the fifth place trophy from the State 4A Basketball Tournament at the Tacoma Dome last weekend.
And they came oh so close to nabbing at least second place, losing a spectacular overtime battle to Wesco rival Arlington in the semi-final game.
That confrontation was set up by Lake’s relatively easy win over Kentwood in the quarterfinals in the opening round at the Dome.
Arlington lost to Mead in the title game on Saturday, while Lake fell to Mt. Rainier in the contest deciding third and fifth places.
Brooke Pahukoa, with a couple of superstar performances in Lake’s first two outings, was named to the All-Tournament team (one of just five players to earn that honor).
Brittney Pahukoa was at the top of the tournament list in steals and assists, as the twin sisters closed out their legendary Viking careers by leading Lake to four consecutive State Tournament appearances (winning one game in Tacoma as freshmen while narrowly missing out on a trophy.)
Lake 52 Kentwood 36 (February 28)
Lake handled Kentwood by 65-47 when the teams met earlier this season so a similar result at State came as no big surprise.
Brooke took the game into her hands from the outset, scoring 22 of her 34 points in the first half as Lake blew out to a 23-10 lead after one quarter and 34-18 at halftime.
Lake made 13 of its 26 shots in the first half while forcing 10 Kenwood turnovers. The two teams basically traded baskets in a somewhat sluggish second half as Lake prevented any serious threat of a Kentwood comeback. Lake led 44-29 after three quarters.
While Brooke was the only Viking to score in double figures (she also had seven rebounds and three steals), several of her teammates made significant contributions. Brittney had seven assists, four rebounds and four steals. Emily Vandegrift had six points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
Lake made 11 of its 12 free throws and had 10 turnovers to Kentwood’s 17. The rebounding battle was virtually even.
Kentwood’s leading scorer was Sarah Toeaina with 16 and its leading rebounder was Jenny Johnson with 10.
Arlington 66 Lake 64 - Overtime (March 1)
Those who witnessed this classic will be talking about it forever.
The longtime Wesco rivals had split the regular season series, each winning on its own home court, and each had fought off elimination games in District and Regional play to earn its way to Tacoma.
Lake looked to have command of this game, leading by 12 points early in the second half, only to see Arlington rally to seize the lead until the fourth quarter buzzer sounded with Brittney’s three-point shot rainbowing into the net to send it into overtime.
Lake led 16-9 at the quarter break despite making only four field goals in the period. But two of those were threes, by Alex Briggs and by Cassidy Fifield. Lake missed a chance to lead by even more when it missed six of its first eight free throws in the quarter, before making its final four.
Lake stayed ahead by 31-23 at halftime, thanks to two more threes, by Briggs and by Kali Long, after Arlington had cut Lake’s lead to 24-23. Long’s eight points in the quarter were key to keeping the Vikings on top.
Lindsay Brown and Jayla Russ, meanwhile, had started to heat up for the Eagles, each making a three in the second quarter.
Lake started hot in the third quarter, going three for three in the opening six and a half minutes on two baskets by Brooke and a steal and lay-in by Brittney to forge ahead by 39-27. But that was the end of Lake’s comfort zone, as the Eagles stormed back by making seven of their eight shots in the quarter to close the gap to 48-45 entering the fourth. After taking the 12-point lead, Lake made just two of its final 12 shots in the quarter.
Lake’s cold shooting continued into the fourth quarter—the Vikings were zero for nine until Brittney’s game-tying howitzer at the buzzer.
Viking defense firmed up to hold Arlington to just three of 12 field goals in the fourth quarter, while Lake’s main offense was coming from the free throw line where it made five of six.
Brooke increased Lake’s lead to 52-49 with a pair of freebies at the four minute mark and Russ’ lay-in made it 52-51 at 3:46.
Long sank one of two free throws at 3:29 for a 53-51 Viking lead. Leatherman matched that with 2:18 left leaving Lake ahead by 53-52.
Both teams struggled to score again until Lindsay Brown’s three with 34 seconds left put Arlington ahead by 55-53.
Brittney’s missed shot with 25 seconds left was rebounded by Arlington and Lake’s desperation foul on Winter Brown with seven seconds left saw the latter make one of two for a 56-53 Eagle lead.
Long, inbounding the ball from the right sidelines in back court, hit Brittney in stride and the latter dribbled to just above the head of the key where, as time expired, her arching shot swished through the net to tie the game at 56-all.
Lake suffered a key blow when Brittney fouled out in the opening minute.
Lindsay Brown made one of two free throws at 3:03, followed by Brooke’s fifteen-footer at 2:50 which put Lake back ahead by 58-57.
Showalter’s driving lay-in at 2:33 made it 59-58, Eagles.
Brooke missed a shot but Chelsea Pahls grabbed the offensive rebound and fed Fifield for a three and a 61-59 Viking lead at 2:20.
But that lead lasted only until 1:55 when Brown swished a three to give her team a 62-61 lead.
Lake never caught up after that though Arlington missed four of eight free throws in the final 43 seconds to give the Vikings a chance.
One free throw each by Showalter and Russ, the latter with 18 seconds left, made it 64-61.
Brooke drove down court and scored a lay-in with 10 seconds left to make it 64-63.
Brown made the second of two free throws with five seconds left for a 65-63 margin but Brooke lost the inbounds pass out of bounds and Lake was forced to foul Brown again, the latter making one of two with three seconds left.
But there was to be no repeat three point shot miracle for the Vikings, as Arlington intentionally fouled Brooke with two seconds left. Brooke made the first free throw, deliberately missed the second, the ball bouncing loose under the basket in a frantic rebound scramble grabbed by Lindsay Brown as the buzzer sounded.
Mt. Rainier 56 Lake 39 (March 2)
Not to make excuses but Lake simply didn’t have the legs or the energy left after the crushing Arlington loss to compete with a Mt. Rainier team which is one of the nation’s best (it lost 51-50 to eventual state champion Mead the day before).
Lake stayed with the Rams for a quarter, trailing 9-6, but the shots wouldn’t fall for the Vikings, who couldn’t even make their lay-ins.
Lake trailed 29-17 at halftime and stayed relatively even with the Rams in the second half, being outscored by 27-22.
Lake was a miserable seven for 30 in the first half and nine for 31 in the second half, 26 percent overall.
Lake was outrebounded by 50-37 but again took fairly good care of the ball, making 12 turnovers to Mt. Rainier’s 18.
Brooke, heavily guarded, managed to score 13 points and had six rebounds and three steals. She finished the tournament with 75 points for a 25 point average, second only to the Rams’ scoring machine Brittany McPhee, who had 87 points including 25 against the Vikings (plus 18 rebounds).
Brittney’s prototypical game included nine points, eight assists, seven rebounds and eight steals.
Long had six points, nine rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot.
Thus ended a roller coaster ride of a season for Randall Edens’ Vikings and his veteran staff. The girls rallied to put together another great campaign.