MILL CREEK — Shorecrest’s Onyie Chibuogwu spent Saturday afternoon cleaning her room and thinking about that night’s 3A state regional girls basketball game and how close her team was to heading to Tacoma.
Saturday night Chibuogwu cleaned up on the court.
The Shorecrest sophomore scored 34 points and grabbed a 14 rebounds, both game highs, as the Scots came from behind to beat Timberline 51-47 and punch their ticket to Tacoma and the 3A state quarterfinals.
“Talking about (state) before (the season) I was thinking we can’t get that far,” said Chibuogwu. “It’s the state championship. No, no, no. But I realized when I was cleaning my room today that we really can win this whole thing. I just wanted to win for everyone on the team and help out.
“My parents got mad at me and were like clean you’re room. I’ll do it before every game now,” Chibuogwu joked.
The smaller Timberline had trouble containing Chibuogwu for the entire game, but it was late in the fourth quarter when the 5-foot-9 post really did her damage. With her team trailing 43-38 with just over 4 minutes left in the game, Chibuogwu scored nine straight points to help the Scots go on a 10-4 run that would give Shorecrest a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“Once I get on a roll I can’t stop,” said Chibuogwu, who played last season on the Scots C-team as a freshman. “I keep it going and keep my energy up and once I do that you can’t stop me. The ball’s going through the hoop.”
Shorecrest head coach Dori Monson said that his team noticed Timberline’s smaller posts when the players watched them play on Monday, but he was surprised that his gameplan to take advantage of his team’s size difference worked so well. Shorecrest out-rebounded Timberline 47-36 and got 42 of its 51 points from post players Chibuogwu, India Matheson and Mickey Greenburg.
“We watched them play and we just thought our two bigs India and Onyie would be a tough matchup for them,” Monson said. “Onyie was a really tough matchup.”
The most surprising part of Saturday’s win was Shorecrest did it without much scoring from its leading scorer Brianne Lasconia. The Scots point guard was held to eight points and suffered a knee injury late in the first half, bringing a hush over the crowd while causing the Scots players wonder if they were going to have to win the game without their floor general.
“Dori was trying to talk and we were all looking to make sure that Bri could run,” Chibuogwu said of the scene in the locker room at halftime.
Lasconia came out of the locker room with a limp but she started the second half and hit a 3-pointer early in the third quarter to put Shorecrest up 27-22 and erase any doubts her teammates had of her health. The senior led the team with three steals and grabbed seven rebounds to contribute to the win in other ways besides scoring.
“It just shows, Bri is one of the best players in the state, but we have a bunch of other kids who can step up when they have to,” Monson said. “We had a lot of other girls make sure this wasn’t going to be Bri’s last game.”
Chibuogwu followed Lasconia’s 3-pointer early in the third quarter with a three-point play of her own to give Shorecrest a commanding 30-22 lead. But aided by three 3-pointers by Sasha Weber, Timberline went on a 18-7 run to take a 40-37 lead early in the fourth quarter to set up Shorecrest’s rally late.
“This team has an unbelievable will to win,” Monson said. “Regardless of circumstance if we’re up 10 it’s going to be a close game and if they’re down 10 they’ll find a way to come back and win. I don’t know where it comes from exactly but they just have a will and a spirit about them that makes them winners.”
Now Shorecrest moves on the quarterfinals where it will need just three more wins to be state champ. The Scots will know who and when they will play Thursday after the Washington Interscholastic Athletics Association basketball draw today at 3 p.m.
“We had three goals before the season started,” Monson said. “One was winning a district championship. Check that off. One was winning regionals. Check that off. And now we got one more to go and I’m not going to talk about that until we can check that one off.”
At Jackson H.S.
Shorecrest—Shattuck 0, Lasconia 8, Jones 0, Schlachter 0, Monson 1, Chibuogwu 34, Greenburg 3, Uppinghouse 0, Matheson 5. Timberline—Allen 2, Martin 0, Russell 2, Borja 8, Owens 2, Mckee 6, Clayton 7, Weber 20. 3-point goals—Lasconia 1, Weber 3. Records—Shorecrest 20-4.