Warriors claim South Division title crown

  • Tue Feb 9th, 2010 8:29pm

By Jon Saperstein For The Enterprise

It took an odd beginning and a sloppy fourth quarter, but the Edmonds-Woodway girls basketball team managed to escape Glacier Peak Monday night. Despite a furious Grizzlies comeback the Warriors triumphed 51-33.

The victory ensures that the Warriors (16-1 league, 18-1 overall) will finish alone atop the Wesco South, something that before the season was unthinkable for first-year coach Duane Hodges.

“I knew we’d be pretty good but I did not think that we’d be this good,” Hodges said. “I thought we could maybe go 16-4 … I thought Jackson had a great returning crew. I thought we were going to be number two.”

For a moment it looked like Jackson may stay alive for a tie atop the conference when the Warriors let a 12-point third-quarter advantage turn into a 1-point fourth-quarter deficit.

Alex Kenney hit a deep 3-pointer — E-W’s only one of the game — with a hand in her face with 2:44 to go in the third that felt like an emotional dagger in the heart of Glacier Peak. Kenney had a game-high 13 points on the night.

The Grizzlies promptly responded with a 13-0 run that lasted halfway through the fourth quarter. During the spurt Edmonds-Woodway’s Ashley Albertson picked up a technical foul with a very vocal protest of a foul call early in the fourth quarter.

The technical energized the crowd and could have led to a Warrior collapse but Albertson stayed composed, put her head down and rebounded. She scored five of her nine points after the technical and finished the night with a game-high 14 rebounds, the biggest part of the Warriors 29-22 rebound advantage.

“She’s mature enough as a junior to know that she can’t melt down,” said Hodges, whose Warrior roster features no seniors and seven juniors including Albertson. “She did a great job of composing herself.”

The Warriors responded with an 11-0 run and the Grizzlies ran out of gas.

Already playing without its star captain Marjorie Heard, GP missed her replacement Olivia VanDlac, who struggled with foul trouble the whole night. VanDlac will also miss the next two games with a concussion.

“We had a good comeback,” Glacier Peak coach Brian Hill said. “We had the momentum coming our way but you could tell we were tired.”

Heard, who is out with a broken foot, started the game and lined up for the opening tip in her walking cast, letting the Warriors take it. The Grizzlies allowed a free layin for the Warriors in exchange for allowing the 6-foot-1 Heard to score a basket on Glacier Peak’s first-ever senior night after which was she replaced by 5-foot-3 Taylor Rasmussen.

“We decided to go with our fast scrappy lineup,” Hill said.

After the unorthodox start to the game, both teams struggled to find a rhythm offensively. Playing without Heard — a University of Washington recruit — for just the third time this year, no players were able to take charge on GP.

Fellow senior Miranda Granger had four of her team-high seven in the fourth quarter to lead the Grizzlies.

Heard found out Monday from her doctor that her injured foot will not require surgery, but should Glacier Peak make the State 3A tournament she may be able to rejoin her team.

“It’s hard being a captain and a leader (to sit),” Heard said. “I’m proud of the girls.”

The unique start to the game was sprung on Heard the night before the game.

“This is the first time that I’ve ever been nervous to start,” said Heard a four-year varsity participant. “It was an honor and it was fun. It was definitely something I’ll always remember.”

Jon Saperstein writes for The Herald.