Shorecrest had a feeling it was going to play Cleveland in the first round of the state tournament even before the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association made it official by pairing the two in a draw on Sunday afternoon.
The Scots just had to look at their previous two opponents. On Feb. 18 Shorecrest defeated Glacier Peak 63-51 in the District 1 championship, avenging a loss to the same Grizzlies in the previous year’s championship. The next weekend Shorecrest faced Timberline, the team who knocked them out of last year’s playoffs in the regionals round.
This year, the Scots returned the favor, defeating the Blazers 51-47 last Saturday to advance to the Tacoma Dome for the first time since 2010, when Shorecrest lost to Cleveland.
Guess who Shorecrest plays in the first round of this year’s state tournament.
“On the car ride down (to the state draw) we were talking about it just seemed like destiny that we’d play Cleveland,” said Scots’ senior co-captain Janie Uppinghouse after the state draw on Sunday. “Then the draw winded down and we’re like, ‘Wow, we might actually play Cleveland.’”
Shorecrest head coach Dori Monson, who brought Uppinghouse and fellow co-captain India Matheson with him to the draw, said the team was excited to play anybody and thought it was just cool that the Scots once again have a chance for redemption.
“We were looking forward to anybody we’d play,” Monson said. “They thought it was funny that it just kind of continued this pattern of getting teams that knocked us out the previous couple of years.”
This year’s Cleveland (20-6 overall) team is quite a bit different from that 2010 squad that went on to win the 3A state tournament, but according to Monson they’re still a very good team.
The Eagles may have one advantage over Shorecrest (20-4), but Monson sees a strength for the Scots in a different area.
“From what I’ve seen on tape they probably have more team speed than us,” Monson said. “But I’d say we have more size going in. We’ve had post play that’s been really solid for us all year long.”
Uppinghouse and Matheson are two of Shorecrest’s starting forwards, along with sophomore Onyie Chibuogwu, who tallied 34 points and 14 rebounds in the Scots’ win over Timberline. Monson said that, along with his seniors — Allison Jones, Mickey Greenburg and guard Brianne Lasconia, who averages about 17 points per game — it’s easy to see how Shorecrest has been able to keep its season alive.
“All of our starters are gonna be important,” Monson said. “One of the hallmarks of our team is we’ve had different people step up from game to game. Onyie emerged in the game against Timberline. Bri has been fantastic for us all season long.”
The seniors give Shorecrest some state playoff experience, with five players “that have been there before,” Monson said.
“We have a team very dominated by seniors,” he said.
Monson says if Shorecrest is going to continue its recent trend of beating teams that have beat it, it’s going to take the Scots’ best game of the season. Luckily for Shorecrest, that’s another habit it’s developed this postseason.
“We’ve been telling our girls the farther we advance in the postseason the more necessary it is to be peaking at the right time,” Monson said. “I think we played our two best games of the year against Glacier Peak and Timberline and it’s going to take another best game of the year for every game in Tacoma.”