KIRKLAND — The Glacier Peak High School girls basketball team knew its offense would be in for a tough test with its season on the line against Bothell.
The Grizzlies saw first-hand just how stout the Cougars’ physical defense could be less than three weeks ago in a 44-40 non-league loss.
On Thursday Bothell’s defense once again proved to be a puzzle Glacier Peak couldn’t solve.
The fourth-seeded Cougars stymied the second-seeded Grizzlies all afternoon and held them to a season-low 39 points on their way to a 57-39 victory in a winner-to-state, loser-out Class 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament matchup at Lake Washington High School.
“They controlled the game from the first minute,” Glacier Peak coach Brian Hill said. “We struggled. They just felt like they had a good flow, and that’s because of their defense.”
Junior McKylee Hawkins scored a game-high 20 points to lead a balanced Bothell attack on offense. Senior Ella Kaleta and freshman Charlotte Lipkin added seven points apiece and five more Bothell players scored. The Cougars (19-6) clinched their first state berth since 2016.
Sophomore Brynna Pukis netted 13 points, senior Kylani Rookstool added 10 and freshman Zoey Ritter chipped in six for Glacier Peak, which ended its season at 15-6 overall.
Bothell’s stifling defense was on full display from the opening tip, as the Cougars surrendered just four points in the first quarter and held the Grizzlies off the scoreboard for a near 8-minute span that stretched into the second. Pukis and Ritter broke the scoreless drought with back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second to cut the Grizzlies’ deficit to 14-10, but Bothell answered back with an 8-2 run and forced five turnovers in the period as it kept pulling away and built a 27-14 lead entering the break.
The Grizzlies dialed up the pressure with their full-court press in the second half in an attempt to generate offense off the fast break, but the nine turnovers Glacier Peak forced after the break didn’t result in much offense in transition.
“When you’re desperate, you’ve gotta change something up,” Hill said. “We tried to see if we could turn them over and see if we can get some lay-ins out of it. We got some turnovers, but we just didn’t get buckets.”
The Cougars secured their biggest lead of the night on a pair of Hawkins free throws late in the third quarter for a 51-29 advantage.
The Grizzlies got some offense going in the fourth as they scored 17 points after mustering just 22 through the first three quarters, but Bothell’s lead never dipped below 16 in the final period.
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