Lincoln’s speedy guards and hard-working posts took turns providing the offense against Mountlake Terrace, and the Lady Abes needed every single point. Lincoln built a 10-point lead early in the third quarter and held off the Hawks for a 61-59 on Feb. 28 at Mount Tahoma High School to punch their ticket to the Tacoma Dome.
“This is a big step for us,” said senior forward Breneya Johnson, who finished with team highs of 18 points and 22 rebounds. “We always knew we had the talent to do it, and we’re just now proving it to everybody…we’ve proved that we deserve this.”
Johnson was 7-for-10 from the field in the first half, scoring 14 points to help the Lady Abes trail just 28-26 at the break. After tallying just two points and going 0-for-5 from the floor in the first half, Lincoln sophomore forward Tamia Braggs came alive to score eight points in the third quarter. Braggs’ turnaround jumper with two minutes to play in the period gave Lincoln a 42-32 lead, capping a 16-4 run to start the second half.
Mountlake Terrace slowly crept their way back into the game in the fourth quarter, and closed to within 57-55 with 41 seconds remaining on a layup by Maddy Kristjanson – who scored a team-high 19 points. But Lincoln’s Aamira Turner helped close out the game with two free throws with 11 seconds remaining, and Kristjanson’s last-second three-pointer clanked off the rim to give Lincoln the win.
Turner finished with 16 points for Lincoln, while Braggs had 11 points and 12 rebounds and Kiaira Thomas added 12 points off the bench.
Mountlake Terrace junior point guard Samantha Romanowski was a constant threat for the Hawks in the game, scoring 17 points, and senior guard Nikki Froehlich added 11 points.
“I think we were prepared for it,” said Lincoln head coach Jamila Jones. “Teams that have a bunch of guards have given us trouble. But we weathered the storm and just kind of gritted that one out.”
Lincoln will face Cleveland – a heavy favorite for the state title – in their Hardwood Classic opener on March 6 at 3:45 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome.
By Jeremy Helling
LADY RAMS HEADING BACK TO THE DOME
Recoiling from last week’s West Central Title defeat, the Wilson Lady Rams were able to close the deal when the situation became lose-and-go-home. Wilson defeated Ferndale 59-54 in the State Regional Final at a nearly-packed Mt. Tahoma gymnasium on March 1 to claim their second straight trip to the 3A State Tournament at the Tacoma Dome.
Wilson (19-5) dictated the flow for much of the game, but was unable to shake off the talented Ferndale squad. It was clear Ferndale wasn’t used to the physical style of Wilson’s defense, and it kept them off-balanced for much of the game.
Wilson led 15-11 and gave up the lead once in the second quarter and once in the third. On each occasion, Ferndale (19-6) went up a single point and the Lady Rams came right back. The teams were tied at the end of the third quarter, 38-38.
The Lady Rams would open the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run, taking a 48-38 advantage with 3:45 to go in the game. Ferndale’s Brooke Benson hit a three-pointer with 21.8 left in the game, pulling the Golden Eagles within three points at 55-52.
Four successful free throws by Wilson’s Violet Morrow ended any Ferndale hopes for a comeback.
“In a close game like this, you can’t let the little mistakes get to you and you’ve got to keep pushing forward and keep your head in the game,” Wilson freshman guard Josie Matz said. “One of our keys was making sure that we put bodies on people to get rebounds. Our post players did a great job of that today.”
Matz led Wilson with 18 points, with Violet Morrow and Kiara Knox delivering a clutch 15 points apiece. Senior Tyra Foster finished with eight points and 14 rebounds. Ferndale’s Taryn Knutson led the Golden Eagles with 18 points.
The Lady Rams face Mercer Island (16-10) on March 6 at 9 p.m. at the 3A State Hardwood Classic in the Tacoma Dome. Mercer Island is the surprise team of the girls tourney after defeating second-ranked Glacier Peak 59-55 in overtime on March 1.
“Even though it wasn’t recognized by all as a realistic goal, we wanted to get back to the Dome,” said Wilson head coach Michelle Birge. “A lot of people thought since we graduated seven seniors, we weren’t going to be competitive. Our program’s spirit is still alive.”
By Justin Gimse