Viking Girls headed for state tournamentMIKE ANDERTON | CONTRIBUTING WRITER Viking girls basketball team earned a second straight trip to the State Tournament, edging out Monroe 42-38 in a hectic “Winner To State, Loser Out” battle for the District’s third and last entry to the big show.
The boys, however, saw their season come to an end with a tough 51-45 loss to Jackson.
LAKE GIRLS 51, KAMIAK 45
Lake needed to win this loser-out game in order to advance to play Monroe. What looked like a relatively easy Viking victory early on turned into a desperation battle for survival which saw Lake fall behind early in the fourth quarter before barely escaping with a 51-45 win.
The victory rested squarely on the shoulders of Ashley Housden, Lake’s tough, aggressive Senior forward who almost single-handedly carried the team on a night when her teammates were having trouble finding the basket. Housden made 11 of her 14 field goal tries, including both of her threes, for a career-high 26 points.
Housden’s three baskets in the first quarter paced Lake to a 14-6 lead at the break. Tate’s three-point play early in the second quarter made it 17-6 and Lake seemingly was in command. Eight turnovers later, Lake found itself in a 17-17 tie on Nicole Bozek’s rebound basket. It took Karissa Tri’s three to keep Lake on top at halftime, 22-21.
A Bozek basket to start the third quarter put Kamiak ahead 23-22, but Housden’s three a short time later re-took the lead for Lake, the first of three consecutive baskets she made to give Lake some breathing room at 29-23. Karissa Tri’s three a couple of minutes later made it 32-25. Brittany Tri’s lay-in kept Lake ahead 34-27, only to see Kamiak score 6 quick points (4 of them by Julia Church) to make it 34-33 at the quarter break.
Jordan Keller’s short jumper to launch the fourth quarter gave Kamiak the lead again, but when Housden answered that with a three to put Lake ahead 37-35 and it never trailed again -- thanks to Housden, who scored 3 of Lake’s final 4 baskets to help it cling narrowly on top the rest of the way. Ochiltree and Tate each made 3 of 4 free throws down the stretch to keep the Knights at bay. Lake 51, Kamiak 45.
Lake found itself outrebounded for one of the few times this season, with Bozek and Church combining for 21 boards, pacing their team’s 38-27 advantage in that department (they also combined to score 26 points).
LAKE GIRLS 42, MONROE 38
Lake stormed to the District Championship last season but this time had to fight its way back to State via the back door. The Vikings stayed alive with a 51-45 win over Kamiak, setting up the do-or-die encounter with Wesco North league champion Monroe, which had won the season’s previous two encounters.
Monroe pulled ahead of cold-shooting Lake in the second quarter by 12-5, then 14-9 before Lake launched a 17-2 run (expanded to 19-2 early in the third quarter) to explode to a 26-16 halftime lead.
The Viking outburst saw the girls play their best basketball of the season, sparked by a quick 5 points by Brittany Tri to tie the game at 14-all, and followed up by a rebound basket by Ashley Housden, a ten-footer by Tri, a court-length solo drive by Leah Tate, a Mary Ochiltree three-point play, and an Ochiltree three to close out the half.
Lake’s domination of the second quarter included 19 rebounds to Monroe’s 8, with Tri and Housden combining for 12 of the boards.
A key moment came with 1:45 left in the second quarter, when Monroe’s all-star Senior guard Sarah Morton, who has signed with Washington to play with the Huskies, was forced out of action when her knee popped out of joint following a collision under the basket. Morton did not return to the game, but is expected to fully recover.
Anna Kruse took a feed from Tate and laid it in to start the third quarter and at 4:45 of the quarter Ochiltree’s three made it 33-19. Shortly thereafter, Housden’s 15-footer put Lake ahead 35-21 and it appeared that Lake would roll to a one-sided win.
But the Bearcats were far from cooked. Monroe, which had overcome a 13-point third quarter deficit to beat Terrace in its previous loser-out game, suddenly sprang to life. While Lake missed its final 5 shots of the quarter the Bearcats rolled to 10 straight points, including threes by Morgan Thomas and Chelsea Drivstuen to edge within 35-31.
The Bearcat surge didn’t end there. The fourth quarter began with a controversial basket by Drivstuen. Monroe had the ball out of bounds on the right baseline under its own basket with one second on the shot clock. Drivstuen took a feed from Jordyn Battle, executed a whirl-around pivot which clearly consumed a full two seconds and launched a jumper which threaded the twine, beating the shot clock which the operator had failed to start on time. The bogus bucket stood, pulling the Bearcats to within 35-33.
Monroe’s miraculous comeback was complete when Drivstuen swished a three with 5:40 left, giving her team a 36-35 lead, capping a 15-point run.
It’s a tribute to Lake’s defense, which has carried it througout the Playoffs, that that was to be the Bearcat’s last field goal of the game. Monroe missed its final 7 shots, 3 of them from three-point range.
Meanwhile, Lake ended its drought when Tate found Ochiltree for a lay-in at 5:25 to regain the lead at 37-36.
Neither team scored again until Drivstuen’s pair of free throws at 2:16 put Monroe back ahead by 38-37.
Housden, who had almost singlehandedly rescued Lake against Kamiak in the Vikings’ previous game, drove to the basket to put Lake ahead 39-38 with 1:29 left.
Tate hit the first of a one-and-one with 13 seconds left, missed the second shot but Housden pressured a Bearcat into fumbling the rebound out of bounds, with Lake retaining possession. On the ensuing in-bounds play Kruse found Housden free under the basket for the game-cinching lay-in; 42-38 Lake.
Lake’s balanced offense saw Ochiltree score 14 points, Housden 12 and Tri 11. Tate contributed 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Lake’s 43-38 rebounding margin was led by Tri’s 11 boards and 10 each by Ochiltree and Housden (the latter also had 3 blocked shots).
Thus Randy Edens’ Vikings return to State. This year’s team, with a 17-7 record, is grateful just to make it this far, and is hoping to pull off an upset or two in a State Tournament loaded with high-powered teams and Division One recruits.