By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
KIRKLAND — It was a first half to forget for Glacier Peak and Grizzlies girls basketball coach Brian Hill had just one question at halftime for his team: “Are you ready to play now?”
The answer was a resounding yes.
After scoring only one basket in the first quarter and trailing 16-10 to Redmond at halftime, Glacier Peak came out on fire in the second half. The Grizzlies outscored the Mustangs 20-4 in the third quarter en route to a 45-35 victory on the first day of the 2012 Rebel Challenge Series, which pits Wesco girls hoops teams against Kingco teams.
“First I went (into the locker room) and asked ‘Are you ready to play now?’ because I think we took (Redmond) a little light,” Hill said. “Defensively we gave up on our assignments and offensively I think we forced a lot of stuff and we didn’t execute our offense very well.”
Glacier Peak started the game disjointed and couldn’t get their shots to go in the hoop in the first half, knocking down just four field goals and going 2-for-9 from the free throw line in the first two quarters.
In the second half, Glacier Peak got back to basics and started getting the ball to its post presence: Nicole Fausey. The Grizzlies’ 6-foot-4 post scored the first two baskets after halftime and had 10 points in an 13-2 run that gave Glacier Peak a 23-18 lead midway through the third quarter. It was the first Grizzlies’ lead and they didn’t relinquish as Redmond couldn’t get any closer than seven points the rest of the way.
“We’ve been telling them all year there aren’t a lot of 6-4 posts out on the floor, and if we get Nicki the ball in these situations, she’ll be successful,” Hill said.
“Nicki did a better job of putting herself in a better position on the floor. Sometimes she’ll post herself up too low and it’s tough to get her the ball. But I thought she put herself in some really good spots (in the third quarter), and she came out more aggressive on getting her defender on her back. And when they fronted her we made some tremendous entry passes over the top.”
Fausey’s success inside opened it up outside for teammate Allie Weathersby, who hit two 3-pointers and added another basket in the third quarter, which ended with Glacier Peak holding a commanding 30-20 lead.
“If she gets doubled up, we have the opposite wing and we got some outside shots when she got doubled tonight and some inside stuff when they didn’t,” Hill said of Fausey.
“And Allie’s a great asset because she can play inside because she’s strong and she’s one of our better outside shooters.”
Glacier Peak’s defense was also a big factor in the third-quarter run. Forcing the Redmond players to use their off-hand, the Grizzlies’ pesky defense forced six turnovers and limited the Mustangs to just 2-for-14 shooting in the quarter. Also, Glacier Peak senior forward India Smith did a good job defensively on Redmond’s Kelsey Dunn in the quarter, holding the Mustangs’ star junior wing to just one basket.
“Our defense really stepped up in that third quarter,” Hill said. “We forced them to the left a bit more and that seemed to help.”
Glacier Peak plays Franklin at 8:30 tonight and closes out the Rebel Challenge with Hazen Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
The Grizzlies, who have only lost to ranked teams Bellevue and Inglmoor and Wesco 3A South rival Meadowdale in the first nine games, turns its attention to the 3A North when league play resumes next week.
“We get to play the North which will be interesting to see how Stanwood and Everett and Marysville Pilchuck are doing,” Hill said. “We’re excited. As long as we’re playing great at the end of January and February we’ll be fine.”
At Juanita H.S.
Glacier Peak—Taylor Baird 4, Sadie Mensing 5, Sophia Gaffney 2, Victoria Goudreau 0, India Smith 1, Sarah Smith 0, Sawyer Manning 0, Kianna Garner 2, Nicole Fausey 17, Allie Weathersby 14. Redmond—Sierra Craig 2, Kelley Koeppen 2, Lauren Bogard 18, Kelsey Dunn 9, Ali Jorgensen 4. 3-point goals—Weathersby 2. Records—Glacier Peak 6-3 overall. Redmond 2-6.