Girls basketball: Warriors close out season with loss at regional tourney
Edmonds-Woodway came into Saturday’s state regional game against Mount Rainier on a roll. For the first four minutes of the tilt, they stayed on it, going toe-to-toe with the fifth-ranked Rams. Natalie Kasper hit the first basket for the Warriors, a deep three. Later, a pair of Moni Jackson free throws put the Warriors ahead 9-7 at the 4:20 mark. That would end up being the last Warriors’ lead of the game as Aqeelah Williams came down and hit a three for the Rams, the first points of a 17-7 Mt Rainier run to close out the quarter. The Rams would go on to a convincing 76-45 victory, ending the season for E-W.
The Rams feature two-time Gatorade state player of the year in senior Brittany McPhee. McPhee would go right to work on the Warriors, scoring 11 first-quarter points, including a 3-pointer. “We felt we could stop her,” said Warrior post Sidney Eck. “We weren’t expecting her to shoot the three.” Williams and Emily Fiso would add five each for the Rams in the quarter. Eck, playing what would turn out to be her last game, scored six and Jackson four to carry the Warriors in the first.
Mount Rainier would go on and score the first six points of the second quarter before Jackson hit back-to back baskets to briefly slow the momentum. Turns out those would be the only Warrior points of the quarter as Mt Rainier would advance their lead to 17 at the half, 37-20. E-W held McPhee to two in the second, but five other teammates, including McPhee’s twin sister Jordan, would elevate the Rams to their half-time margin.
After the break, the Warriors came out quickly with Jackson scoring the first bucket of the third, then Brittany again took over for the Rams, not only scoring several baskets, but also blocking multiple E-W shot attempts. Halfway through the third, the Rams had increased their lead to 49-26. The Rams defense continued to frustrate the Warriors, whose coach, Rebekah Wells, said, “We weren’t getting the movement we needed. We were just a half a step slower than they were. Very frustrating.”
Trailing by 26 to start the fourth, the Warriors tried to make a game of it, but in the end, the lead and the Rams’ depth was too much to overcome. Said McPhee, “We knew they were a dangerous team and they could get hot on the three. I think we did a great job of denying them shot attempts.” McPhee would lead the Rams with 28, right at her season average, with Fiso adding 17.
Saturday marked the final game for not only Eck, but Maddy Nealey and Victoria Lebesis. “I’ve been playing with them since 6th grade,” said Eck. “I feel like we’ve been together 24/7.” Added Wells, “They are a great group of girls. “
Eck and Jackson would end up leading the Warriors with 13 each. Kasper had eight points and Missy Peterson five. The Warriors finished the season 16-10.
Warrior scoring: Wooley 2, Burdett 2, Eck 13, Kasper 8, Fyfe, Nealey 3, Jackson 13, Peterson 5, Lebesis, Browning, Jones
— By Jeff Smarr