It’s been a long and winding road for the Wilson Lady Ram seniors, who have been on the cusp of the state tournament but came up empty the previous three years. But on Feb. 22 at Mount Tahoma, they could finally begin to dream about state possibilities as they rolled past Bonney Lake 55-35 to claim their first trip to state since 1994.
Bethany Montgomery celebrated her 18th birthday by leading all scorers with 16 points and Tia Briggs chipped in with 12 points for the Rams.
“This is something that I cannot describe right now,” said Lady Rams head coach Michelle Birge. “These girls have worked so hard all these years, and to get to the promised land is so incredible. I’m so happy for them.”
They advanced to face Mercer Island in the quarterfinals at the Tacoma Dome on Feb. 28 at 10:30 a.m.
The game started slowly, with the Lady Rams unable to get anything established on the offensive end despite their big advantage in athleticism. But Montgomery and Briggs began to find their game in the second quarter along with talented sophomore Kapri Morrow, as Wilson would take a 26-16 lead at the half. The third quarter would be the deciding factor, with Briggs and Morrow dominating the paint and Montgomery finding her shot from long range.
As Birge began to clear her bench late in the fourth quarter, emotions began to show on the veteran Rams who have been in the program for the past four years.
“I’m in such a state of both shock and euphoria,” Briggs said. “We’ve waited so long for this moment and it finally came. I hope we can do the ultimate and bring home the large trophy…we earned this and I’m so happy for my teammates.”
When all the excitement had settled down after the postgame celebration, Montgomery reflected on the game and four years that was. “It’s so hard to put into words right now, the wait really makes it worth it now and like Tia, I want the big trophy, too.”
“This has been an incredible ride,” added Birge, “but let’s give credit also to the girls who in the last couple of years have helped lay a great foundation here at Wilson. The best is yet to come.”
By Steve Mullen