For the past six games, members of Edmonds-Woodway’s girls basketball team have faced a brutal reality — one loss, and their season was over. Fortunately for the Warriors, they play some of their best basketball under pressure, and Saturday afternoon was no exception, as they scored a 53-48 overtime victory over Kentwood. The win gave the Warriors a ticket to the Tacoma Dome next week and a shot at a state 4A basketball title.
Ashley Albertson set the tone by scoring seven points in the first period, and E-W had an 18-10 lead after one. The physical pressure came early from Kentwood, who made every attempt to keep the Warriors from penetrating the paint. Halfway into the first period, Angela Woods got tangled up in an off-ball struggle that resulted in a double foul. “Anytime a player gets overly physical with Angela in the paint, there’s just no way she’s going to take it, and that’s where the double foul came from,” said E-W Coach Duane Hodges.
In the second period, the Warriors outscored Kentwood 4-2 in a defensive battle that put Albertson on the bench with an icepack on her right eye. “We knew it would be a physical game,” Albertson said. “I took a pretty tough elbow shot to the eye that the trainer said should be black by tomorrow, so I’m pretty stoked about that.”
Coming back to the floor in the second half with a 22-12 lead, the Warriors executed a plan to run a combination of plays that brought the ball closer to the basket. “In the locker room at half time, Coach Hodges was talking to us about having to attack the paint to get our points,” said Woods, who scored eight for E-W Saturday. “This late in the season, our legs and arms are shot so the outside shooting is not as reliable as earlier in the season.” With a five days off before the Warriors head to the Tacoma Dome, where they face Lewis & Clark in a 9 p.m. Thursday match-up, “maybe the outside shooting will pick up,” Woods added.
Despite being down by 10 at the half, the Conquerors made it clear they were not going away. Kentwood knocked down 15 points in the third, including a 25-foot bomb from Senior Kylie Huerta at the third-period buzzer, while the Warriors could only come up with nine.
E-W opened the fourth quarter with a long-range 3 by Woods to take a 34-27 lead, but Kentwood’s tough defense kept the Warriors to two points while the Conquerors scored nine. The score was tied 36-36 with 3:57 left and was tied again — at 41-41 — with 1:47 remaining. From there, it was a back-and-forth shooting battle between Kentwood’s Kylie Huerta and E-W’s Madeline Kasper. Huerta hit a big 3 to give the Conquerors a 44-41 lead, followed immediately by Kasper’s 3 to again tie the game. With 29 seconds left, Kentwood brought the ball up the floor and Huerta hit a two-pointer, and the Conks were up 46-44 with 7.4 seconds left in the game.
The Warriors took an immediate timeout, after which Kasper — who has been playing the few days despite a fever — got the ball near the baseline. She took it coast to coast, driving to the left side for layin that tied the score at 46-all and sent the game into overtime. “A couple of days ago, Madeline had a 102-degree temp and today she knocks down two incredibly important shots that help take us to Tacoma.” Hodges noted.
In the four-minute overtime, E-W won the tip and the period, outscoring Kentwood 7-2 — including five points by Alex Kenney — to take a 53-48 win. “Our mental game is so good,” Hodges said. “We just played six loser-out games in a row and we never felt we couldn’t do it.”
The second-year E-W coach, who guided the Warriors to a fifth-place finish at state last year, gave a special shout-out to Kenney’s performance. “I’m very proud of Alex’s game today,” Hodges said. “She worked so hard on defense and helping move our ball up the floor and doesn’t score all game, then pours in five points in overtime to help seal this one up.”
Edmonds-Woodway scoring: Madeline Kasper 15, Alex Kinney 5, Ashley Albertson 13, Sydney Donaldson 10, Angela Woods 8, Sidney Eck 2.