TACOMA — For three quarters, the Glacier Peak Grizzlies had the No. 4-ranked Bellevue Wolverines right where they wanted them.
The two teams were tied at 26 after three quarters, but the Wolverines flexed their muscle in the final period and dismissed the Grizzlies 50-39 in the 3A state quarterfinals at the Tacoma Dome.
Bellevue moves on to face Cleveland in today’s semifinals. Glacier Peak plays University in a loser-out game.
Glacier Peak coach Brian Hill wanted to control the pace of the game, and for three quarters his team did just that. The Grizzlies led at times, but couldn’t gain separation. Their biggest lead of the day was two points. Bellevue had the advantage most of the time, but couldn’t pull away either. The biggest lead of the first three quarters for the Wolverines was five points.
It was the type of game the Grizzlies have played all season. The team was executing its defense to perfection and by dictating the pace, GP kept the game close.
After three quarters, Hill couldn’t have been happier.
“Beautiful,” he said. “It’s like our game right? It’s going to be a 30-to-31 game. It was good. It was how we wanted it.”
But everything changed in the fourth quarter. The Wolverines, who had scored just 26 points through three periods, put up 24 in the fourth quarter.
“The style changed,” Hill said. “We dictated the style I thought for three quarters and then the style changed.”
Bellevue head coach Leah Krautter said the Wolverines knew the Grizzlies would try to control the pace.
“We talked about that a lot all week,” Krautter said. “This team is going to try and slow-play us. They score in the low 40s. That is their game. They are really controlled. They are really smart. We have to try and run on them. They controlled the pace. It was a little concerning in the first half.
“I think we scored half of our points in the fourth quarter. So it just took us a while to get our composure and get back into our speed of play.”
Part of the problem for the Wolverines was lack of offense from their better players. Leading scorer Shelby Cansler (16.0 ppg) was held scoreless in the first half and shot 0-for-7 from the field. Tatiana Streun managed just five points. Bellevue’s only real scoring came from second-leading scorer Mandy Steward, who had nine points in the first half on 4-for-10 shooting.
The Wolverines picked it up in the second half. Cansler made four of her seven second-half shots and finished with eight points to get the Wolverines going.
“Shelby has been kind of our go-to girl all season,” Krautter said. “She struggled a little bit in the first half. She was 0-for-7. We knew she was going to get back on, she always does. So we just told her to keep her composure. She never gives up. She is a really confident girl.”
Steward finished the game with 14 points and Streun added 12 to lead the Wolverines.
Hill said the defensive intensity changed in the final quarter.
“We got a little lazy on our defense,” he said. “I think we kind of got slow, a little flat-footed. They were able to just keep attacking the rim. They had a lot of buckets down the stretch.”
Bellevue stretched its lead to 34-28 early in the fourth quarter, but a baseline 3-pointer by Allie Weathersby stopped the 6-0 run and cut the deficit to three. It was as close as the Grizzlies would get the rest of the way.
Nicole Fausey lead the Grizzlies with 10 points. Kianna Garner added eight.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Tacoma Dome
Bellevue – 9 11 6 24 – 50
Glacier Peak – 8 10 8 13 – 39
Bellevue – Erin McGowan 7, Elisa Park 0, Tatiana Streun 12, Dajah Rogers 2, Mackenzie Keeter 0, Sierra Sublet 2, Kate Holmes 4, Mandy Steward 14, Shelby Cansler 8, Morgan Maring 0, Corrine Foster 0. Glacier Peak – Taylor Baird 4, Sadie Mensing 2, Sophia Gaffney 4, Victoria Goudreau 0, India Smith 0, Sarah Smith 2, Sawyer Manning 0, Kianna Garner 8, Kaela Collins 0, Nicole Fausey 10, Allie Weathersby 8. 3-point goals – Steward 1, McGowan 1, Weathersby 2. Records – Bellevue 25-2 overall, Glacier Peak 18-7.