By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
AUBURN — The Stanwood Spartans picked a bad night to have their worst shooting performance of the season.
The Spartans made just 14 of their 62 field goal attempts and fell 54-43 to Federal Way in a 4A girls state regional game on Saturday.
With the win, the Eagles advance to the Tacoma Dome for Thursday’s state quarterfinals, while the season ends for the Spartans.
Through three quarters, the game couldn’t have been much closer. The Eagles opened up the game with an early five-point advantage, but the Spartans recovered to take a lead through the entire second quarter. They held that lead for most of the third quarter and were still up by one point at the end of the period.
Samantha Kelleigh gave the Spartans a 39-37 lead with 6 minutes to play in the contest, but the Eagles closed the game on a 17-4 run.
“We just didn’t make shots,” Stanwood coach Dennis Kloke said. “Unfortunately our worst shooting night of the season was tonight because we usually don’t miss those short ones inside and stuff like that.”
Still, the Spartans were right there. Neither team led by more than five points until the game’s final 3 minutes and the largest advantage at the end of any quarter was just two points. The shooting woes plagued both teams throughout the contest, but affected the Spartans at the most crucial time. After Kelleigh’s 3-pointer with six minutes to play, Stanwood didn’t make another field goal.
“It happened throughout the game,” Kloke said. “We didn’t have a series where we would score three times in a row.
“They were out there playing defense, but we just didn’t put the ball in the basket. Look at the last few shots, we were right there. But I told my young ladies that happens in sports. Not every night is the night that is yours’.”
Offensively for the Eagles, point guard Darah Huertas-Vining and guard Raven Benton led the way. Huertas-Vining finished with 15 points and Benton scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.
“They are good players,” Kloke said. “They were the difference. We had tried to set up a defense that would counter their effectiveness and they did better than what we did. Put that, coupled with us not pounding the ball and getting the score inside to equalize that, so we were always climbing uphill.”
Tristan Murphy led the way for Stanwood with 10 points. Brenda Bingham chipped in eight, all of which came in the first half.
Kloke said that the Eagles ability to make free throws down the stretch helped them secure the victory.
“Our ball didn’t go in,” he said. “We fouled, they made their free throws and they got enough buckets to complement their free throws. We did not get to shoot very many free throws in that crucial time. Not the whole game, I’m just talking in that span of about two and a half minutes.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Read his live blogs at www.heraldnet.com/prepzone, follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stanwood-Palmer 0, Kelleigh 7, Lucero 7, Bingham 8, Ta. Murphy 0, Borseth 0, Swartz 5, Heckman 6, Tr. Murphy 10. Federal Way- Huertas-Vining 15, McEachin 5, Jones 0, Benton 23, Bynum 0, Belhumeur 9, Jackson 0, Velasco-Bono 2. 3-point goals-Kelleigh 1, Lucero 1, Huertas-Vining 1, Benton 1. Records- Stanwood 22-3, Federal Way not reported.