TACOMA – While most of their fan base was snowed in and unable to make the trip south, the Lake Stevens Vikings were also in a bit of a freeze on Wednesday night.
Lake Stevens, playing in front of only about 20 loyalists, was ice cold for most of the first half of its first-round game in the 4A state girls basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome. Even a furious third-quarter rally couldn’t save the Vikings, who lost 53-43 to a University High team that featured the best player in the entire state.
Tennessee-bound senior Angie Bjorklund overcame early foul trouble to score 15 points for the 19-2 Titans, who face Bothell in a quarterfinal game today. Lake Stevens (17-8) will face Kentlake in a consolation-round game today at 2 p.m.
The Vikings had a horrible first half that saw them hit just 5 of 21 field goals while turning the ball over 12 times, yet a strong third quarter put Lake Stevens back in contention.
A strong day at the free-throw line – the Titans hit 22 of 29 free throws – kept Lake Stevens from making a serious move. The Vikings were just four of nine from the charity stripe.
Mary Ochiltree led Lake Stevens with 15 points, 11 of which came in a third quarter that saw the Vikings outscore University 21-10 to pull within five points.
While most of the first half was a nightmare for Lake Stevens, the first few minutes gave reason for encouragement. During the first 3:07 of the game, the Vikings were tied at five while University’s Bjorklund was sitting on the bench with two quick fouls.
But the Titans quickly proved they aren’t a one-woman team. University scored nine unanswered points, including seven on free throws, and outscored Lake Stevens 12-2 before Bjorklund came back onto the court early in the second quarter with her team leading 17-7.
After that, it was no contest. The Titans went on another run and eventually opened up a 30-14 halftime lead.
Bjorklund had seven points over 10 minutes in the first half. The only shot she missed was a half-court heave that bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
While Lake Stevens struggled to find its offensive rhythm in the first half, University overcame some of its own shooting woes by making 14 of 16 free throws to take control.
Ochiltree’s three 3-pointers and two baskets each from Ashley Housden and Brittany Tri spearheaded a third-quarter rally that saw the Vikings get within five points, at 40-35, heading into the final period.
But the halftime deficit proved insurmountable. Lake Stevens scored just five points in the opening seven minutes of the fourth quarter to let University get away. Bjorklund rattled off eight second-half points to finish with a team-high 15 on the night.
After hitting only one of nine field goals in the first half, Ochiltree was 4-for-10 over the final 16 minutes en route to her team-high 15 points. Housden added nine points, while Meagan Johnson and Lauren Goddard came off the bench and hit 3-point shots for the Vikings.
At the Tacoma Dome
Lake Stevens-Ochiltree 15, Housden 9, Kruse 1, Tate 2, B.Tri 8, Johnson 3, Goddard 3, Gallagher 2. University-Zack 8, Bjorklund 15, D.Schiermeister 2, Jurich 9, Archibald 10, Millard 1, Carr 2, R.Schiermeister 6. 3-point goals-Ochiltree 3, Goddard, Johnson, Bjorklund, Jurich, Archibald. Records-Lake Stevens 17-8, University 24-2.