Grace Academy’s Zia Fackenthal tries to steal the ball from Cusick’s Dalia Oliver during the game on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Grace Academy’s Zia Fackenthal tries to steal the ball from Cusick’s Dalia Oliver during the game on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Grace Academy girls ousted with 1B state regional loss

The Eagles lose 57-48 to Cusick and fall one win short of their first-ever Hardwood Classic trip.

EVERETT — The Grace Academy girls basketball team fell just short of its first-ever trip to the Hardwood Classic.

The No. 12-seeded Eagles surrendered the game’s final 10 points and suffered a 57-48 loss to No. 13 seed Cusick in a Class 1B loser-out state regional contest Friday night at Everett Community College.

Cusick (16-5) advanced to next week’s 1B Hardwood Classic in Spokane with the victory.

It was the second time in the past three full-length seasons that Marysville-based Grace Academy (10-5) came within one win of its first Hardwood Classic berth. In 2019, the Eagles won their first-ever league title and made their first state appearance, but lost a loser-out state regional game.

Grace Academy led for much of the contest and was up 39-31 midway through the third quarter. But as the Eagles went scoreless over the next 5 1/2 minutes, Cusick pulled in front with a 10-0 run.

The teams then went back and forth in a fourth quarter that featured two ties and four lead changes.

The Eagles took a 48-47 lead on a basket by junior center Karis Jones with 3:06 to play. But Cusick quickly responded, regaining the lead on a 3-pointer by senior Dalia Oliver with 2:35 remaining.

Oliver later added a layup that served as the knockout punch, stretching the margin to 53-48 with 34 seconds to go.

Cusick, from northeastern Washington, was led by the Thompson sisters. Lania Thompson, a senior forward, scored 13 of her team-high 18 points in the second half. Tameira Thompson, an eighth grader, hit four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points.

Oliver scored nine of her 13 points in fourth quarter for Cusick, which was making its first state appearance in a decade.

Grace Academy was led by sophomore guard Zia Fackenthal, who exploded for 12 of her team-high 21 points in the second quarter. Senior wing Heidi Impola scored all 10 of her points in the first half for the Eagles.

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