SNOHOMISH — Early in the fourth quarter, a determined Kamiak’s comeback bid had trimmed a nine-point Lake Stevens lead to one. At that point, and with the game very much up for grabs, the Vikings’ duo of Kylee Griffen and Raigan Reed took over.
The tandem dropped in 12 unanswered points over the next 3½ minutes, and that burst carried the Vikings to a 66-53 victory in a Saturday afternoon semifinal game of the Class 4A District 1 girls basketball tournament at Snohomish High School.
The win lifts Lake Stevens into the district championship game, scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Thursday at Everett Community College.
The Vikings were in the district title game the last two years, but lost “to two really good Snohomish teams,” said Lake Stevens coach Randy Edens. “Maybe the third time’s the charm.”
Against Kamiak, Lake Stevens trailed for much of the first half, but then eased in front just before halftime. The Vikings padded their margin early in the third quarter, reaching a score of 40-31, only to see the Knights begin chipping away at the deficit.
Kamiak scored the first five points of the fourth quarter on a Sarah Payne 3-pointer and a Hunter Beirne fast-break layin, pulling the Knights within 44-43. Indeed, they had a chance to move in front with an open look at a 3-pointer and then three free throws, but they missed those shots.
And it was then Griffen and Reed took over. In a whirlwind of scoring, Griffen scored with a three-point play off an offensive putback, Reed followed with a layin, a rebound basket and a 3-pointer from right of the key, and Griffen then tacked on two free throws. Just like that, Lake Stevens led 56-43 with under three minutes to play.
Down the stretch, Kamiak could come no closer than nine points.
Griffen, a junior forward, had 20 points to lead Lake Stevens. Reed, a dynamic freshman guard, chipped in 17 points and senior forward Marissa Walton was a third Viking in double figures with 14 points.
Lake Stevens had not played since a Feb. 3 game against Jackson, “and it showed in the first quarter,” Edens said. “We were a little rusty. When you’re playing well, and we were going into this little layoff, you want to keep playing. It was going to be interesting to see how we’d respond.
“We were a little flat early, but then we found our way a little bit. So it was a good win,” he said.
“I think this week, not being able to play a game before this was kind of hard for us in the first half,” Griffen said. “But I thought we came back and played really well in the second half.”
Kamiak led for much of the first half, due largely to its perimeter accuracy. The Knights had six of their 10 3-pointers in the first two quarters, including three by Payne, and had their biggest lead of the game at 24-19 with three minutes left before halftime.
“It just seemed like they kept moving further and further out (to shoot 3s),” Edens said. “You just tip your hat when they hit shots like that. … But (later in the game) I thought we did enough things to slow them down a little bit, we kind of found our way offensively and it worked out.”
Kamiak, which will host Mariner in a loser-out consolation game at 7 p.m. Tuesday, was led by Payne with 15 points, including four 3-pointers. Jamie Beirne added 12 points.