After falling to Prairie in the district finals last year, the Wilson Lady Rams were out to prove a point this time around. With a late run in the first half and a dominant final quarter, they overwhelmed the Falcons and claimed the 3A district title with a 68-42 win on Feb. 18 at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
“We’ve had our eyes set on this district championship ever since last year,” said senior forward Tia Briggs, who finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. “We were super hungry to get in the game. For the past couple of years we’ve felt very underestimated by people that believed that we couldn’t get to this point. This kind of just fueled our fire. We basically just came out hard, came out to win and we did.”
Prairie freshman Aislinn Konig had six points in the first quarter to help the Falcons start quickly, but Briggs responded with three put-backs to help tie it 13-13 at the end of the period. Konig’s three-point play midway through the second quarter again tied it 21-21, but that’s when the Rams launched the first of their impressive runs. Bethany Montgomery and Justina Laney hit back-to-back three pointers to regain the lead for the Rams and start a 15-5 run to close the half. Briggs added two baskets inside in the final minute, and Kaysha Fox banked in a buzzer-beating three-pointer to make it 36-26 at the break.
“What you saw is the girls compete for four quarters and deliver knockout punch after knockout punch,” said Wilson head coach Michelle Birge. “When (Prairie) started to get back up, we would deliver another punch, and the punch was the post play.”
Montgomery led a balanced scoring attack for Wilson, leading the way with 18 points while Laney added 12 points and sophomore Violet Morrow had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“Share the love,” said Fox of the offensive philosophy. “When you do that, it’s hard to stop. Everybody’s a threat out there…it was really a team effort today.” After Wilson led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, Prairie clawed back to within 46-38 on Konig’s jumper early in the fourth. But Wilson then delivered the final punch, going on a 15-0 run over the next four minutes – capped by Briggs’ rebound and put-back with 3:13 left – to make it 61-38.
“We just basically wanted to seal the deal and make sure there was no way they were going to get back in the game,” Briggs said. “We made sure.”
The win gives the Rams the number one seed to the state regionals, where they will take on Bonney Lake at Mount Tahoma High School on Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. with a chance to go to the Tacoma Dome for the state tournament.
“This is just step one for us,” said Fox, noting the bitter end to the season last year. “All of the seniors especially, we want this. We don’t want that feeling again. We want to go to the Dome.”