LAKE STEVENS — The Glacier Peak girls basketball team simply couldn’t buy a bucket during a miserable stretch of 18 consecutive misses from the field.
Then, suddenly, the Grizzlies were nearly unstoppable.
Glacier Peak shook off its second-quarter struggles and rattled off a massive third-quarter run to remain unbeaten in Wesco 4A play with a pivotal 67-48 road win over Lake Stevens on Tuesday night.
“We just got mad and said that how we were playing wasn’t acceptable,” Grizzlies senior Haley Grambo said of her team’s halftime adjustments. “We just got fired up and wanted to clean up our play.”
The victory gave Glacier Peak (15-1 overall, 10-0 Wesco 4A) a regular-season sweep of Lake Stevens and a commanding two-game lead over the second-place Vikings in the conference-title race. With just four league games remaining, the Grizzlies are closing in on their second Wesco 4A title in three years, as well as the league’s No. 1 seed for the Class 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament.
“We want to have that No. 1 seed,” Glacier Peak coach Brian Hill said. “That’s big. … We haven’t done anything yet. We’ve still got more games. But for (the) standings, it was a big game for us. We knew going into this what it meant.”
The Grizzlies raced to a fast start with their swarming full-court press, forcing a slew of turnovers while scoring the game’s first seven points and building a 20-8 lead.
But Glacier Peak went ice-cold in the second quarter against Lake Stevens’ zone defense, which held the Grizzlies without a field goal for the entire period.
The Vikings (9-7, 8-2), meanwhile, entered the double bonus early in the second quarter and took advantage. Lake Stevens got to the foul line time and time again, hitting 12 free throws while outscoring the Grizzlies 19-5 in the second period and surging in front for a two-point halftime lead.
“The first half was really frustrating for us, so I think we just had to really get it together in the locker room,” Glacier Peak sophomore Maya Erling said. “We came out really hyped.”
After the Vikings took a 31-28 lead early in the third quarter, Glacier Peak sophomore Aaliyah Collins drove for a basket to end a stretch of nearly 11 minutes without a field goal for the Grizzlies. That kickstarted a 20-2 third-quarter run by Glacier Peak, which rattled off 15 straight points to break a tie and build a 48-33 advantage.
“Our defense got way better,” Erling said. “We started playing smarter and fouling less. … Our shots started falling, and everything started to come together in the second half.”
Lake Stevens trimmed the margin to 11 points early in the fourth quarter, but the Grizzlies responded with four 3-pointers to stretch their lead to 60-39. Glacier Peak finished with 10 made 3-pointers, including three apiece from Erling and sophomore Malia Smith.
Erling led the Grizzlies with 14 points and Collins scored 13. Grambo and senior Sydney Guffey each added 10 points for Glacier Peak.
Lake Stevens junior Raigan Reed scored a team-high 17 points and freshman Cori Wilcox added 13 for the Vikings, who fell 68-50 to the Grizzlies last month.
“They’re just such a tough (team to) guard,” Lake Stevens coach Randy Edens said. “They’re so quick and tough to contain off the bounce. … We covered it well, but they hit some shots there in the second half that got things going.”
Glacier Peak excelled once again with its suffocating high-pressure defense, which forced the Vikings into 30 turnovers and led to a slew of transition baskets.
“That’s where we get our most points,” Erling said. “We’re a really fast team, (and) getting those turnovers, that kind of fuels us.”