MUKILTEO — When it comes to basketball, size can make a huge difference.
Just don’t tell that to the pesky Archbishop Murphy Wildcats.
Junior guard Shelby Lyman scored 18 points, defending 2A Cascade Conference champion Archbishop Murphy held 4A Kamiak scoreless for the game’s first seven minutes and the Wildcats survived a giant fourth-quarter comeback by the Knights to win 49-46 in a girls basketball game Friday night at Kamiak High School. The non-conference contest was the season-opener for both teams.
“We came out with a lot of intensity,” Lyman said. “We knew we wanted to run the floor and get easy buckets.”
“We talk an awful lot about defense,” Archbishop Murphy head coach John Barhanovich added. “We have a veteran group of kids. They know our system on defense and they buy into it. For three quarters we played pretty good defense.”
The Wildcats certainly did that, but after holding Kamiak to just two points in the first quarter and two points in the third quarter, they had to survive a 26 point fourth quarter for the Knights, led by senior guard Kelsey Patrick.
“Kamiak has a great program,” said Barhanovich, whose team was predicted to finish first in the Cascade Conference again in The Herald’s preseason coaches poll and who only graduated one senior from last year’s squad. “I appreciate the fact that they are willing to play us. We’ll play the best competition we can that is willing to play us.”
As the final quarter opened, Murphy led 34-20. But Kamiak’s Patrick went to work quickly.
The 6-foot guard scored on a layup off a Murphy turnover, then, after a Kamiak 3-pointer, made two free-throws to cut the Wildcats’ lead to nine points.
Patrick finished with 23 points to lead all scorers, and she saved her best performance for the game’s final minute.
First, Patrick connected on a 3-pointer from practically mid-court with 42 seconds remaining to draw Kamiak within 46-41.
After Murphy’s Lyman answered by converting two free-throws, Patrick hit a second driving shot to keep it within a two-possession game.
“She hit some deep downtown shots,” Barhanovich said.
But Patrick couldn’t connect on a 3-pointer on Kamiak’s next possession and Lyman split a pair of free-throws to end any remaining threat.
“Kelsey Patrick is a great offensive player,” Barhanovich said. “We knew we’d have to slow her down to win. I’m not sure we did slow her down, but we did enough to get the win.”
“It feels great,” Lyman added of beating a well well-respected Kamiak program. “Defensively, we did it.”
Murphy set the tone early forcing seven Kamiak turnovers in the first quarter.
Junior Sam Pettinger stole the ball and hit Lyman for a layup and a quick 2-0 lead.
Lyman followed that up by converting an and-one to give the Wildcats a 5-0 lead and Murphy was off and running.
Junior post Megan Carlson scored eight points for the wildcats and Claire Anderson added five points for the Wildcats.
Kamiak’s Kariah Kussman chipped in eight points as the Knights’ second leading scorer.
At Kamiak H.S.
Archbishop Murphy—Lyman 18, Pettinger 7, Fletcher 4, Shober 3, Anderson 5, Smith 4, Carlson 8. Kamiak—Sovich 2, Simmons 2, Barnes, Patrick 23, Kussman 8, Mahjoubian, Johnson 4, Lipscomb 3, Larson 2, McClaskey 2. 3-point goals—Lyman 2, Anderson 1,Patrick 2, Kussman 2. Records— Archbishop Murphy 1-0 overall. Kamiak 0-1 overall.