Lake Steven’s Abigail Molstre drives to the hoop between two Chiawana defenders at the Tacoma dome last Thursday. Chiawana won with a score of 53 to 49
Mission accomplished. The Lake Stevens girls have brought home the fourth place trophy from last week’s State Basketball Tournament at the Tacoma Dome.
After narrowly missing out on a top eight placement last year, Coach Randall Edens’ Vikings, secured Lake’s first State Tournament trophy in the past quarter century. Fourth place equals Lake’s best finish at State ever.
Chiawana 53 Lake 49
Top-ranked Chiawana of Pasco, which narrowly denied Lake a trophy in last year’s State Tournament, ended the Vikings’ title hopes by coming from behind in the final minutes.
In a game of runs, the Riverhawks had the last one to steal the victory.
Lake then connected on seven of 10 shots to outscore the Riverhawks 20-4 the rest of the quarter to take a 20-11 lead at the break.
Lake’s rally was fueled by a pair of Goddard threes, three baskets by Molstre and four of four free throws plus a lay-in by Pahukoa.
The second quarter saw a reversal of the first for Lake, which made just a single basket in 11 attempts and was outscored by Chiawana 18-4. Especially damaging in the quarter was Chiawana’s 20-8 rebounding advantage which included 11 offensive boards.
Lake righted the ship in the third quarter, narrowing the deficit to 41-39 entering the fourth. Lake’s third quarter rally featured eight points by Warbis and a three by Mahea Puha, plus Brooke Pahukoa’s buzzer-beating jumper.
Lake took a 43-42 lead with 5:31 left on Molstre’s 12-footer. Shelby Ellsworth’s lay-in at 3:55 put Chiawana back on top 44-43, but two free throws by Brooke Pahukoa at 3:52 regained a 45-44 advantage for Lake.
That increased to 47-44 on Pahukoa’s pair of free throws with 3:12 left, but Lake couldn’t hold on.
Rivard’s short jumper at 2:40 followed by Hodgins’ two free throws at 1:56 put Chiawana ahead by 48-47.
Following a dubious traveling call on Pahukoa, Hodgins broke the Vikings’ back by nailing a three for a 51-47 lead with 55 seconds left.
Pahukoa’s lay-in, fed by Burke, cut that to 51-49 with 36 seconds to go.
Reynolds made one of two free throws with 15 seconds left for a 52-49 margin but Burke’s potential game-tying three fell far short with three seconds left. Chiawana rebounded and Hodgins made one of two free throws with a second left for the 53-49 final score.
Lake 46 Mt. Rainer 41
Lake secured a trophy by overcoming a sluggish first half to down Mt. Rainier in this loser-out contest.
Trailing 19-15 at the half, Lake scored 13 straight points in the third quarter to take command then held on against a mild rally Lake shot miserably in the first half, six of 29, trailing by 10-4 at the quarter break but managing to stay in contention with its aggressive full-court defense, stealing the ball nine times before intermission.
Puha scored Lake’s first three baskets of the second quarter including a lay-in which tied the game at 11-all 3:15 before halftime.
Mt. Rainier’s freshman guard sensation Brittany McPhee scored eight of her team’s nine points in the second quarter.
Lake’s press forced four quick turnovers in the third quarter, capitalizing on them with baskets by Goddard, both Pahukoas and a Warbis three with 3:35 left for a 28-19 lead. Lake outscored MR 17-4 in the quarter to take a 32-23 lead entering the fourth.
Two lay-ins by Brooke Pahukoa and a brace of free throws by Burke increased the margin to 38-24 with about five minutes to go before late threes by Guillot and McPhee cut the final margin to 46-41. Four of six free throws by Burke in the last 29 seconds kept Lake securely ahead.
Lake 53 Bellarmine 45
Lake played one of its best games of the season in the battle for fourth and sixth place.
Brittany Pahokoa was a driving force in the victory, igniting a second period Viking rally which turned a 13-11 first quarter deficit into a 28-22 halftime lead.
Molstre’s three baskets in the first quarter kept the game close and her two free throws at the outset of the second tied it at 13-all.
Six straight free throws by Brittany Pahukoa nudged Lake ahead by 21-18 with 2:55 left in the half. Her put-back of a missed free throw and a steal for a lay-in just before the halftime buzzer was highlight reel stuff.
Lake outscored the Lions by 10-7 in the third quarter with four different Vikings contributing a basket each. Burke’s three at 5:04 made it 36-25.
Brittany Pahukoa helped put an end to the Lions’ rally with a put back at 3:50, and when Burke drained a long jumper at 3:20 the lead was back to 48-38.
The teams essentially traded points the rest of the way with Lake cementing the win with five of seven at the line in the final minute.
As has been the case most of the season, Lake did not shoot well from the field in this tournament but compensated for that with poise, focus, teamwork, experience, depth, desire, coaching, good free throw shooting, and (above all) defense.
That’s a winning formula which should carry over into next season when, with a bit of luck tossed in, Lake will return to State for another title shot.