MOUNT VERNON – Senior Lexy Postlewait nearly doubled her season average Friday night as the Mount Baker girls basketball team clinched its second trip to the state tournament in four seasons.
Postlewait scored 14 points to lead Mount Baker past Granite Falls 55-37 in a winner-to-state, 2A Northwest District tournament playoff game at Mount Vernon High School. The Mountaineers advance to the district championship and will play Blaine at 7:30 p.m. March 5 in the same gym. The top three teams in the tournament earn state berths. Despite the loss, Granite Falls (11-11) can still advance to state, but it needs to win two loser-out games, beginning with a contest against Meridian at 6:30 Tuesday at Mount Vernon High School.
Postlewait, a 5-foot-9 guard, boosted her season average from 8.8 to 9.1 points per game. Postlewait scored seven points in each half and junior forward Terri Yost added eight, all in the second half as Mount Baker increased its lead in each of the four quarters.
“They really came to play,” Mount Baker coach Bob MacIntosh said. “I just can’t say enough about the way they’ve played this season. We haven’t been in this position in a while, I knew we started out with a lot of butterflies.”
After holding the Tigers scoreless in the final 3:28 of the first quarter, the Mountaineers jumped out to an 11-6 lead. Postlewait hit the first of two 3-pointers and led all scorers with six points to end the first quarter.
“I just love this team,” said MacIntosh, whose team is looking for its third five-game winning streak of the season with a victory in the championship game. “I never know who’s going to lead us in scoring. It changes all the time. But I know someone will step up.”
In fact, the Mountaineers finished the regular season without a single player averaging double figures. Four of the 12 players hovered at around five or more points per game. Senior forward Leslie Hansen entered Friday’s outing leading the team, averaging 9.0 points per game. Hansen finished with five points.
Six-foot-1 forward Stephani Kier sparked the Mountaineers in the second quarter, scoring five points to give Mount Baker a 26-20 halftime lead.
The game kept slipping further and further away from the Tigers. In the third quarter, Granite Falls was just 3-for-12 from the field and 3-for-5 from the free-throw line as its deficit grew to 10 points after 24 minutes of play.
“We really struggled on offense,” Granite Falls coach Mark Neuman said. “They are a very physical team and they always have someone who’s going to step up. I think their defense was more in our face and we couldn’t get any good looks.”
Postlewait, who scored only one point in the second quarter, had five of the team’s 14 points in the third quarter. With a 40-30 lead, Mount Baker finally broke open the game thanks to a 13-5 mid fourth-quarter run, which saw six players score two or more points.
“This is the best feeling, the last time we made it to state was my freshman year,” Postlewait said. “And once you’ve been there, you are always trying to get back. Our defense was key for us tonight. We really came together.”
Granite Falls’ Casey Jensen led all scorers with 15 points and teammate Nichole Megard added seven.
Granite Falls-Jensen 15, Megard 7, Reedy 4, Bauer 5, Quinn 6. Mount Baker-Hansen 5, Postlewait 14, Flannery 3, Millman 6, Macdonald 1, Kier 7, J.Phillips 4, S. Phillips 3, Monaghan 4, Yost 8. 3-point goals-Postlewait 2, S. Phillips 1, Megard 1, Quinn 1. Records-Granite Falls 12-10. Mount Baker 15-6.