KIRKLAND — The Lake Stevens girls basketball team fought and clawed all game in a close battle with Mount Si, but the Vikings couldn’t overcome a cold shooting night with a state regionals berth and their season on the line.
Tenth-seeded Mount Si held the fifth-seeded Vikings to single digits in three quarters and closed the game by sinking 11 of 12 free throws in the final period to best Lake Stevens 41-35 in a winner-to-state Class 4A Wes-King Bi-District Tournament elimination contest Thursday at Lake Washington High School.
“It was such a competitive battle both ways,” Lake Stevens coach Randy Edens said. “We expected to be competitive. We were just wondering if we’d get enough offense. We missed out on some easy opportunities, and that’s been our Achillies’ heel sometimes. … That came back to bite us.”
The Vikings (15-8) didn’t score a point in the opening two minutes of any quarter, but the team still found itself locked in a tense bout with the Wildcats (16-10) also struggling from the field.
The teams went back and forth in a first half that saw six lead changes, with Mount Si grabbing the biggest advantage of the opening half at 10-4 with 6 minutes, 12 seconds left in the second on senior Grace Turley’s layup. Junior Hannah Moscrip nailed a 3-pointer late in the quarter that sent the game to half tied at 17.
Lake Stevens freshman Keira Tupua provided a spark for the Vikings in the third with six of her team-high 10 points, including a buzzer-beating bucket in the paint to tie the game at 27 heading into the fourth.
The Wildcats grabbed a lead with a 6-2 run to open the final period and held off each Lake Stevens push after with shots form the foul line.
The Vikings cut their deficit to 33-32 with 1:14 left on junior Nisa Ellis’ putback, but Mount Si answered back with four made free throws by Turley and freshman Zada White.
Lake Stevens senior Ella Edens responded by banking in a 3-pointer with 21 seconds remaining, but Turley and White again made four free throws and secured the Wildcats’ first state berth since 1997.
White scored a game-high 17 points, Turley chipped in 13 and Moscrip had five for Mount Si.
Tupua led with 10 points, junior Kamryn Wenz netted nine and Ella Edens added eight for Lake Stevens.
“It’s been a great season,” Randy Edens said. “This is probably about where we expected to be at, but when you’re that close, one step away, (you want) to find a way to get there and get through the door.”
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