BOTHELL — The ball rolled on the ground as the game clock wound down and seemingly everyone in the gymnasium yelled.
After Maddy Kristjanson got Mountlake Terrace to within one point with about eight seconds remaining in the game, the ball bounced out of bounds and rolled away as the clock ran down. With one second to go, Glacier Peak threw the ball in and the buzzer sounded, finalizing the Grizzlies’ 53-52 win over the Hawks in the 3A District 1 championship Saturday night at Lynnwood High School.
“We’ve battled all year. They’re a really good team, and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Glacier Peak head coach Brian Hill said. “This is pretty much what I expected. A one-point (game).”
Glacier Peak was in front from the first quarter on, leading by as many as 10 points in the contest. But Mountlake Terrace stuck with the Grizzlies, and got the deficit down to just three with 20 seconds remaining. The Hawks ran their offense, with Kristjanson making a mid-range jump shot with eight seconds to go.
The Mountlake Terrace players immediately switched to defense, running to guard the nearest Grizzlies. But in the commotion, the ball hit an athlete and rolled off the court, away from the action. Glacier Peak hurried towards it and got the ball inbounds, just in time to clinch their first district championship in three years.
“I was really scared when they made that last-second shot,” Glacier Peak senior Nicole Fausey said. “But I have all the faith in the world in us and I knew we’d pull through.”
Said Hill: “It’s tough. You know what they can do, you know what you can stop and you know what you can’t stop and sometimes you just hope to contain them a little bit. We contained them just enough.”
Both teams advance to the regional round of the state tournament, with Glacier Peak facing Mercer Island and Mountlake Terrace taking on Lincoln.
It’s the fourth-consecutive year Glacier Peak has been in the district championship, but the first victory in the past three tries for the Grizzlies. Fausey led the way for Glacier Peak (21-2 overall) with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Taylor Baird scored 15 points and Natalie Rasmussen added 11, including five in the final period.
“To finally win it is amazing,” Baird said. “Last year, we were on the other end of this and it was devastating. We’ve had a goal to win this all year. We came here to win and we got it.”
Hill called a pair of timeouts in the final minute to calm his players down as the Hawks crept up on them.
“He just told us to relax,” Fausey said. “He said, ‘We’ve been here before. We know what we’re doing. If we play like a team we can come out on top.’”
It was the third meeting of the season between the co-Wesco 3A South league champions. The Grizzlies and Hawks split their regular season matchups.
“They’re a great team. We love playing them. It’s a great rivalry,” Baird said. “We always know it’s going to be a good game and we knew it was going to be a good game tonight.”
After trailing 42-34 at the end of the third quarter, Mountlake Terrace outscored Glacier Peak 18-11 in the fourth. Samantha Romanowski had 11 points in the final quarter as the Hawks rallied back and cut into Glacier Peak’s lead.
“We’re a second-half team,” Mountlake Terrace head coach Zach Wilde said. “If we had a fifth quarter it’d be a lot easier for us to win some of our games.”
The Hawks’ coach said his team was disappointed after the game, but he was emphasizing the fact that Mountlake Terrace’s season isn’t over. The Hawks are going to state for the first time since 1980.
“We battled back against a team that’s been there,” Wilde said. “It’s tough the way it ended, having to watch the ball just sit out of bounds and all that and not get a chance to shoot it. But last May if you would have asked 92 other coaches, I don’t think they would think Terrace would be going to the state tournament right now. (The players) have nothing to be but proud right now.”
Romanowski had a team-high 19 points and eight rebounds for Mountlake Terrace (18-5). Senior post Maddy Kristjanson scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds for a Hawks team that has shown a pattern of bouncing back this season after tough losses.
“The bad thing is it’s going to be (awhile) until we play again,” Wilde said. “The good thing is when we lost to Glacier Peak last time, we came out strong (in the district tournament). When we lost to Shorecrest (earlier in the year), we won nine games in a row. Now, all we have to do is win one game to get to Tacoma.”
Glacier Peak is making its fourth-conseutive appearance at state, and for the first time in three years, the Grizzlies are heading into it with a victory.
“It’s huge momentum for us,” Baird said. “It gives us a huge confidence boost, which is probably the most important thing, that we go into regionals with confidence in ourselves.”
Added Fausey: “I’m so happy. There’s no other group of girls I would have rather won this with.”
At Lynnwood H.S.
Mountlake Terrace 13 15 6 18 – 52
Glacier Peak 17 16 9 11 – 53
Mountlake Terrace–Nikkie Froehlich 8, Samantha Romanowski 19, Kirsty Dale 4, Shaian Pagaling 2, Riley Zucker 0, Maddy Kristjanson 17, Amanda Tompkins 0, Claire Zucker 2. Glacier Peak–Taylor Baird 15, Natalie Rasmussen 11, Kaela Collins 0, Sarah Smith 3, Sawyer Manning 0, Kianna Garner 5, Samantha Fatkin 0, Paisley Johnson 0, Nicole Fausey 19. 3-point goals–Froehlich 1, Romanowski 1, Kristjanson 1, Rasmussen 3, Smith 1. Records–Mountlake Terrace 18-5 overall. Glacier Peak 21-2.