TACOMA — All that could be seen was a sea of white.
Every time the Bonney Lake Panthers had the ball in the first half, there was nothing but the white jerseys of the Meadowdale Mavericks in front of them. The Mavericks’ full-court press was an impenetrable wall, and the Panthers could only bang their heads against it time and time again.
Meadowdale forced 15 first-half turnovers, largely behind its press, and the Mavericks pulled away early en route to a dominating 62-35 victory over Bonney Lake in the Class 3A high school girls basketball tournament’s round of 12 Wednesday afternoon at the Tacoma Dome.
Meadowdale (19-7), the No. 8 seed, advanced to face Wesco rival Arlington in the quarterfinals at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Tacoma Dome. Bonney Lake, the No. 9 seed, finished its season 19-5.
Meadowdale star guard Gia Powell did her usual thing on offense, scoring 29 points, including five 3-pointers, despite Bonney Lake double-teaming her every time she came off a screen. However, she was also the focal point of the Mavericks’ player-to-player press, which had the Panthers flummoxed all game long as they routinely threw passes right to Meadowdale players.
The press was at its most effective in the second quarter, when Meadowdale scored the first 13 points to build a 26-6 lead. Powell had seven of her nine steals in the first half, and on multiple occasions she stripped her player in the press and scored on a breakaway. The Mavericks, who were credited with 20 steals in the game, saw their lead grow to as many as 31 points in the fourth quarter as the game was never a contest.
”I think our press was pretty effective,” Powell said. “Those guards did not like to be rushed, they did not like the pressure, and I think we definitely capitalized on that. We were able to get tons of steals and turn them over.”
Jordan Leith also found the range from distance for Meadowdale, making three treys to finish with 11 points. She hit back-to-back 3s during the Mavericks’ 13-point run to start the second quarter to help Meadowdale create separation. Ava Powell, who finished with eight points, six rebounds and two steals, capped off the decisive run with a putback as the game was well in hand by the midpoint of the second quarter.
Bonney Lake was led by Jazmyn Shipp, who had 11 points and 12 rebounds. The Mavericks did a good job of limiting the junior center’s effectiveness, though Shipp did pass 1,000 career points in the game.
Meadowdale’s victory gives the Mavericks another shot at Arlington. The Wesco-champion Eagles, who are the No. 2 seed and received a bye into the quarterfinals, won 64-40 when the teams met in league play back in December, and the Mavericks are eager for another shot at Arlington.
”I think we didn’t play our best the first time we played them,” Gia Powell said. “But I know we can compete and I know we can beat them.”
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