TACOMA — For the Marysville-Pilchuck girls basketball team, making the 4A state tournament proved to be the finish line of their season rather than the starting gate that every team desires. There were plenty of teary eyes when the buzzer sounded in their 71-52 loss to Moses Lake Thursday at the Tacoma Dome that eliminated M-P from the consolation bracket.
The Tomahawks, having been picked seventh in Wesco North prior to the season and featuring just one senior, were playing with house money this week. After the game, coach Julie Martin, though disappointed with the evening’s result could only marvel at how well the season went overall.
“It all comes down to just how easy it was to coach them,” Martin said. “We had no problems the entire season. With girls a lot of times you get catfights and things like that but they wanted one goal.
“They wanted to make it to the state tournament. We got a lot of fun things on the way like the Wesco North championship. I am blessed to even be a part of something like this. I loved my job this year.”
Although Moses Lake had the most losses of any team entering the tournament, they were one of the most battle-tested teams in the field with six seniors off a team which placed second in 2008 and sixth a year ago.
The spearhead for the chiefs was point guard Jordan Loera. The 5-foot-9 junior, who has received recruiting interest from Stanford as well as Washington State, was the difference maker. She finished the game with 24 points nine rebounds and six assists.
“She has a beautiful jumper,” Martin said. “She can do both go to the hole and shoot from outside. She’s such a presence out there.”
For a moment it looked like M-P’s Morgan Martinis might match the heralded Chief guard. With Moses Lake ahead 19-14, Martinis hit the first of her four second-quarter 3-pointers. She finished the second quarter with 14 points — one more than Loera — on 5-for-7 shooting from the floor.
“My coach always tells me always look for my shot,” Martinis said. “If I’m off keep shooting and if I’m on keep shooting … I was open and my teammates passed me the ball.”
The Tommies trailed by 13 at the half, getting just two baskets from anyone other than Martinis in the quarter, while allowing 25 points by the Chiefs.
Both teams adjusted to the hot hands at halftime but the Chief changes devastated the M-P offense, switching Loera — the league’s defensive MVP — to Martinis. The Tommies started to double Loera who was held to just one basket in the first 12 minutes of the second half, but the Chiefs found other options while the Tommies could not.
“(Loera) always had a high hand on me,” said Martinis who shot 2-for-8 in the second half. “Before I had no high hands so that’s why I had lots of open shots.”
With five minutes to go, the Tommies cut the lead to seven after Martinis hit a 3 from NBA range, but it would get no closer as Loera took over at the free-throw line. She hit seven of eight from the line and added an easy layin for a 9-3 personal run before coming out of the game.
At the Tacoma Dome
Marysville-Pilchuck Lentz 2, Martinis 21, Adams 10, Petersen 0, Beyer 0, Watson 1, Enberg 3, Heckendorf 15, Rossnagle 0. Moses LakeGuzman 0, Sutherland 12, Loera 24, Padilla 8, Kunjara 3, Morris 7, Diaz 5, Munoz 6, Bernsen 6, Nelson 0. 3-point goalsMartinis 5, Loera 3, Sutherland 1, Padilla 1, Adams 1. RecordsMarysville-Pilchuck 17-8 overall, Moses Lake 16-13.