The Grizzlies erased a two-point halftime deficit -- which may not seem like much but in Friday's contest against Meadowdale every point counted -- and held on to beat Meadowdale 34-30 in a Wesco 3A South defensive battle at Glacier Peak High School.
"We knew it was going to be a battle. Every time we play Meadowdale it's a battle," said Brian Hill, the Glacier Peak head coach. "Every game comes down to the fourth quarter."
Friday's contest was no different.
With points at a premium, the Grizzlies went on an 8-0 run between the end of the third and the first half of the fourth quarter to take a 30-24 lead, the largest point difference for either team in the game. Glacier Peak, which avenged a 49-46 loss to Meadowdale earlier in the season, outscored the Mavericks 8-6 in the final quarter.
No team scored more than 11 points in any quarter or led by more than six points.
The Grizzlies changed their defense regularly, switching between a 2-3 zone, man-to-man, full-court pressure and trap defenses, forcing several Meadowdale turnovers -- including two shot clock violations on the Mavericks' first two offensive possessions.
"We changed our defense a lot, from zone to man, presses to full-court to try to throw them off a bit," Hill said. "We know they're talented. They can shoot from outside or penetrate."
The Mavericks fought right back with pressure defense of their own, bringing in extra defenders to do their best to contain Glacier Peak forward Nicole Fausey.
"The Fausey kid, we have to concentrate so hard on her," said Meadowdale assistant coach Dan Rauch. "I don't know what her stats were but that's definitely what our focus was. When she does touch it we want to make sure she's away from the basket. Size is tough for us and she's pretty skilled."
Fausey had four points, which was tied for the third-most for the Grizzlies. She also grabbed eight rebounds.
Glacier Peak was led by sophomore Sadie Mensing who had a game-high nine points, five rebounds and five steals. Sarah Smith had six points and eight rebounds and Taylor Baird, India Smith and Fausey all had four points apiece.
But the star for the Grizzlies was their defense.
"I thought our team defense was phenomenal," Hill said. "It was a great team win."
The big win came after a tough loss for Glacier Peak, which fell to Shorecrest on Wednesday. It was only the Grizzlies' second loss in their last 11 games.
But the Grizzlies bounced back on Friday and their win -- coupled with some help from Mountlake Terrace who defeated Shorewood 60-55 -- moved Glacier Peak into a tie with the Thunderbirds for first place in the Wesco 3A South league.
The two teams meet on Monday at Shorewood, with the winner getting the inside track to the league title.
"I mapped it out and showed them (how the seeding works at the district tournament)," Hill said. "They understand what's at stake. They're in charge of their own destiny."
The Mavericks were on bit of a roll of late coming into the game as well, winning eight of their previous nine games to move into a tie with Glacier Peak for second place in the South going into Friday night's contest.
Mackenzie Bretz had six points -- including a runner in the final seconds of the first half that barely beat the buzzer to give Meadowdale a 17-15 halftime lead. Ndey Sonko also scored six points and grabbed five rebounds, as did Alyssa Reuble before fouling out with 1:33 to go in the game.
"Our kids have made plays all year long," Rauch said. "It's Game 17 and they know what to do. When it comes to the fourth quarter, we've been the team that has made the plays both on offense and defense. We just didn't make baskets late tonight."
Meadowdale still has a couple of games to play and isn't mathematically eliminated from a league crown. But Rauch said the Mavericks need a lot of help, and aren't overly concerned with where they finish in the standings.
They're just focusing on what happens afterwards.
"The ball has to bounce our way a lot for it happen," Rauch said. "... Everybody wants the league title, but we're just playing basketball games now. Wherever we finish, we finish."
At Glacier Peak H.S.
Meadowdale 10 7 7 6 -- 30
Glacier Peak 7 8 11 8 -- 24
Meadowdale–Keely Hayes 2, Sara Fjortoft 3, Kearstin Franco 0, Tianna Nugent 2, Alyssa Reuble 6, Jaclyn Barhoum 0, Julianne Kossian 2, Mackenzie Bretz 6, Madison Parker 3, Ndey Sonko 6. Glacier Peak–Taylor Baird 4, Sadie Mensing 9, Sophia Gaffney 2, Victoria Goudreau 1, India Smith 4, Sarah Smith 6, Sawyer Manning 1, Kianna Garner 0, Nicole Fausey 4, Allie Weathersby 3. 3-point goals–Fjortoft 1, Parker 1. Records–Meadowdale 7-4 league, 12-6 overall. Glacier Peak 8-3 league, 13-5 overall.
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