SHORELINE — Nobody was as surprised as Dan Taylor.
Coming into Tuesday night’s Cascade Conference showdown between Taylor’s King’s girls and Cedarcrest, most everyone expected a tight contest between two top-10 teams in the state.
It didn’t turn out that way. The Lady Knights used their height advantage and a swarming defense to beat the Red Wolves 72-45 at Mike Martin Gym and assume control of first place in the conference.
“I’m shocked,” Taylor said after the game. “I scouted them a few times and they’re a really good team.”
King’s, which is ranked No. 6 in the first Associated Press Class 1A girls basketball poll, remains unbeaten in league play at 5-0, while Cedarcrest, ranked seventh in 2A, drops to second place at 5-1 in league.
Early on, though, Cedarcrest looked like the better team, racing out to an 11-6 start behind six points from post Kathryn Smith. But King’s junior Savanna Hanson woke up from her slow start and led the Lady Knights on a 7-0 run to end the first quarter and give them a lead they’d never relinquish.
“With this being a big game, I expected a slow start,” Taylor said. “But once the jitters got out of the way we really took over. We did have a height advantage and I think we used that to control the boards and cause turnovers. I’m proud of our girls for that.”
King’s post Karly Hibbard hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored another basket to help the Knights outscore Cedarcrest 8-4 to open the second quarter and then it was Hanson again. The junior guard scored eight of King’s 14 points to end the quarter to give the Knights a decisive 12-point halftime lead.
“Savanna was hungry,” Taylor said of Hanson, who finished with a game-high 24 points. “Last game she only had two points. The last time she only had that few of points was her first game of varsity. I think that made her upset and she knew this was a big game and she carried that weight that we needed. She never played timid, she never played tenative but really asserted herself on the offensive and defensive ends.”
King’s put any hope of a comeback to rest in the third quarter, outscoring the Red Wolves 26-6 in the quarter to all but make the final quarter unnecessary.
On the defensive end, King’s forced Cedarcrest into 25 turnovers and harrassed star players Kalee Fowler and Susan Kenney, making them earn every basket. Fowler finished with 17 points and Kenney 11.
“Kenney and Fowler, those girls are competitors and they fought to the end,” Taylor said. “I think they really never got in a rhythm and our length I think disrupted what they wanted to do a little bit.”
At King’s H.S.
Cedarcrest 11 12 6 16 — 45
King’s 13 22 26 11 — 72
Cedarcrest—Megan Ditore 1, Kalee Fowler 17, Lacey Deming 3, Susan Kenney 11, LuAnn Townley 2, Avery Rich 1, Kathryn Smith 10. King’s—Maddie Nielsen 2, Kendall Adams, Marilyn Jones 3, Julia Berenson 0, Alysanne Van Dyke 2, Daylee Hanson 12, Anna Parker 9, Savanna Hanson 24, Audrey Friedline 4, Karly Hibbard 14. 3-point goals—Kenney, Hibbard 2, Daylee Hanson, Savanna Hanson. Records—Cedarcrest 5-1 league, 10-2 overall. King’s 5-0, 8-3.