By Kevin Brown Herald Writer
TACOMA — The Garfield Bulldogs spoiled Andi Adams’ birthday wish.
Adams, a junior guard on the Marysville-Pilchuck girls basketball team, turned 17 Wednesday, the same day the Tomahawks opened play in the Class 4A state basketball tournament. More than anything, Adams wanted a victory to be part of her celebration.
“I was like please, please get a win at state,” Adams said. “It would be nice to get our first (state-tourney win in school history) on my birthday.”
Unfortunately for Adams and her teammates, the drought continues.
Try as they might, the young Tomahawks couldn’t match the strength and quickness of the Bulldogs and lost 69-59 in a first-round game in the Tacoma Dome, dropping their all-time record in state games to 0-7.
So what did Adams get for her birthday instead of a victory?
“Beat up a little bit,” she said with a smile. “We’re not used to girls like that. Back in the Wesco where we play, there aren’t girls who … are bigger, stronger and that much more athletic than us. It was really difficult to adjust to the speed of game. It was a lot faster than what we were used to.”
The Bulldogs’ quick hands and feet helped force the Tomahawks into 21 turnovers.
Garfield also used its speed to breakdown the M-P defense. The Tomahawks trailed by just two points midway through the second quarter before the Bulldogs closed out the period with a 15-7 run to build a 34-25 halftime advantage. A pair of sophomore guards — Nyasha Sarju and Shaunice Robinson — fueled the spurt, repeatedly penetrating M-P’s defense for lay-ins, short jumpers or foul shots. Sarju and Robinson each scored six points in the run.
“They were unbelievably athletic,” M-P coach Julie Martin said. “We tried to pack (the defense) in and they would hit 3s. Then we would try to defend the three and they would get it inside.”
When Garfield wasn’t dissecting M-P’s defense with its penetration or snapping the nets from long range (they finished with eight 3-point field goals), the Bulldogs found success feeding the ball inside to post Cora McManus. The 6-foot junior muscled her way through the smaller Tomahawks for 14 points and nine rebounds.
Still, M-P battled.
The Tomahawks closed the difference to six points in early in the third quarter on 3-pointer by Morgan Martinis — one of four she made on the night — but that was as close as M-P would get in the second half. Garfield answered with a 10-2 run and the Bulldogs’ lead never fell below nine points the rest of the way.
Sarju led Garfield with 21 points. De Aundreney Dillard Brown added 10.
Martinis paced M-P with 18 points, Dacia Heckendorf scored 14 and Adams 11.
Despite the loss, Martin was happy with her team’s effort and said playing such a talented team can only help her young Tomahawks, who have only one senior on their roster and started five underclassmen.
“I thought my girls played really well for their first game at state and for not having a senior out there tonight,” Martin said. “Even though we lost, I think we are going to carry a different confidence with us going into the next game.”
The Tomahawks play Moses Lake, a 65-55 loser to Bellarmine Prep in Wednesday’s final first-round game, at 2 p.m. today in a loser-out contest.
For the Tomahawks, it will be a chance to break a winless streak at state that dates back to 1994.
And to give Andi Adams a belated birthday present.
At the Tacoma Dome
M-P—Lentz 0, Martinis 18, Adams 11, Petersen 6, Beyer 0, Watson 5, Enberg 5, Heckendorf 14. Garfield—Farr 1, Harris 8, Campbell-Cronin 0, Lancaster 0, Sims 2, Robinson 8, Levias 0, Sarju 21, Dillard-Brown 10, Caples 5, Gadison 0, McManus 14. 3-point goals—Martinis 4, Adams 2, Watson 1, Enberg 1, Harris 2, Sarju 1, Caples 1. Records—Marysville-Pilchuck 17-7, Garfield 15-9.