The Glacier Peak girls celebrate holding off a late run by Kamiak on Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023, at Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

The Glacier Peak girls celebrate holding off a late run by Kamiak on Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023, at Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Glacier Peak girls hold off Kamiak, clinch Wesco 4A title

Kylani Rookstool scores 21 points and the Grizzlies fend off a number of runs by the Knights to win 62-57.

MUKILTEO — When it comes to varsity experience, the Glacier Peak girls basketball team didn’t have much to write home about on that front when the season began.

The Grizzlies made it a non-issue again on Wednesday night, as they held off a late run from Kamiak to earn a 62-57 win, clinching the Wesco 4A regular-season league title.

Glacier Peak’s lone senior, Kylani Rookstool, finished with a team-high 21 points to go with four rebounds, freshman Zoey Ritter added 16 and sophomore Brynna Pukis joined them in double figures with 14.

“We had some trouble keeping the flow of the game,” 14th-year Glacier Peak coach Brian Hill said. “Bella (Hasan’s) really tough and we got into foul trouble, kept putting them on the line. .. A great team effort to keep our composure, not fold under pressure and hit big shots, all those things went into play.”

Knights junior guard Hasan kept Kamiak above water for most of the game, posting 28 points, five rebounds and a pair of steals while senior teammate Nayella George held down the post, compiling 17 points, 10 boards and five steals.

After a seesaw first quarter, the Grizzlies (15-4, 7-1 Wesco 4A) took control going into the second, as Ritter bombed in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to take a 17-12 lead after one.

Kamiak (8-12, 5-3) kept within striking distance in the second after falling behind by 12. Hasan drilled three 3s in the frame and scored 13 of her 19 first-half points in the period as Glacier Peak went into the half nursing a 35-28 advantage.

In the third, the Grizzlies switched things up defensively, putting a box-and-one trap on Hasan with Rookstool as the primary defender, forcing the ball out of her hands as she went scoreless in the quarter.

As Glacier Peak sped things up, it took another double-digit cushion as sophomore Sammie Thoma (six points) sent in a 3, giving the Grizzlies a commanding 45-33 lead with 2 minutes, 21 seconds left in the third.

Glacier Peak kept a firm grip on the lead to begin the final quarter. Rookstool flipped in a scoop shot, drawing a foul in process as she completed the 3-point play to give her team their largest lead of the night at 56-42 with 4:10 remaining.

The Knights had one more run left in them, and they did it quickly, outscoring Glacier Peak 10-0 over the next 1:41 as George powered in a layup. Hasan followed up with an inbounds steal and scooted into the lane, going for a traditional three-point play of her own as Kamiak cut the deficit to 56-52.

“The whole game felt like a game of runs,” Hill said. “I felt like we were in control for most of it, and just when I thought were getting a good grasp, Kamiak would make another push on us and that’s because they kept playing hard.”

In the final minute, the Grizzlies took care of business at the free-throw stripe as Kamiak’s last few jumpers came up short.

“We came into the year with three people who’ve had any kind of varsity minutes,” Hill added. “We knew people would have to step up, and they’re still young, still growing and still going.”

Kamiak, who sputtered to a 1-8 start in the early stages of the season, finished off the year 7-4 with a shot to force a three-way league tie for first place with Lake Stevens and Glacier Peak if they had etched a win.

“I thought they played well with a lot more discipline on defense,” Kamiak coach May Tupua said. “They’ve made incremental improvements throughout the season. .. These are the type of games where it comes down to whoever makes less mistakes.”

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