Viking girls come up empty
Official’s call ends title chances
Viking girls were less than two minutes away from a semi-final berth at last week’s State Basketball Tournament at the Tacoma Dome. Then a highly controversial technical foul led directly to defeat at the hands of nationally-ranked Prairie.
The next day, with a trophy at stake, a dispirited Viking team lost to rival Snohomish and was sent home without any hardware for the third straight year. Vikings 67,Mt. Tahoma 43
First the good news. Lake demolished Mt. Tahoma, the team that had eliminated it in the previous two State Tournaments, rolling to a 16-1 lead in the early going and coasting to a 67-43 win.
Seven different Vikings scored in its first quarter salvo, which included 9 of 12 free throws and an 18-12 rebounding advantage (5 of those by Karri Gallagher, who finished with 11 rebounds, though the official statistican credited her with just 6).
Lake led by 20-5 at the quarter break and 37-22 at halftime. Mt. Tahoma’s game plan seemed to consist mainly of throwing up threes and hoping to get the rebound. It didn’t work. The T-
Birds were 2-for-28 from that range while Lake grabbed 57 rebounds to their 51.
Lake was effective in almost every phase of its game, finishing with 21 of 55 field goals to Mt. Tahoma’s 14 of 80. The 80 shot attempts may have been the most ever against a Viking team. Lake cleaned up at the line, making 21 of 28 to M.T.’s 13 of 23. Mt. Tahoma’s helter-skelter physicality led to 25 Viking turnovers while the T-Birds committed 20.
Viking point guard Leah Tate continued her outstanding late-season play with 13 assists together with 4 steals.
Alona Personius had one of her best games of the season, with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocked shots.
Mary Ochiltree notched 18 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals.
Brittany Tri had 10 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
Reserve Megan Warbis added 5 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 5 blocked shots.
Also contributing points off the bench were Jolana Ziskovsky,
Chanara Greene and Corrine Burke. Kayla Bostwick didn’t score but had an assist, a steal, 3 rebounds and a blocked shot.
Lake led 49-32 after three quarters and kept the pressure on in the fourth, for a 67-43 final. Prairie 58, Lake 54
Anyone who participated in or watched this game will never forget how Lake was in tenuous control for 30+ minutes only to see it all come apart because of an official’s technical foul call with 1:48 left.
At that point a nightmare set in when, leading by 54-50, Ochiltree stole the ball and was attempting to race downcourt for a lay-in when her arm was grabbed by a Prairie player, causing her to travel. Instead of a foul against Prairie the Falcons were awarded the ball. Ochiltree, protesting the call, said “I was fouled” and slapped the ball lightly towards the sidelines. For this, she was whistled for a technical foul. The immediate result was Prairie’s All-State point guard Ashley Corral making both technical free throws, and, with the Falcons also being awarded possession because of the technical, Corral passing to Emily Lashua for the game-tying lay-in with 1:30 left.
A rushed three by Personius, a Falcon rebound, and another Corral assist, this one to Lindsey Levanen for the go-ahead lay-in with 20 seconds left, gave the Falcons the lead for good.
Lake nearly tied it up with 6 seconds left on Gallagher’s lay-in attempt but it was blocked by Lashua. Corrall grabbed the rebound, was immediately fouled, and made two free throws with 5 seconds left to seal Lake’s fate at 58-54.
Until that disastrous turn of events inside the game’s last two minutes, this was Lake’s ball game.
The Vikings attacked Prairie’s pack-in-in zone with intelligence and persistence, staking out a 15-12 lead at the quarter break, increasing that to 30-23 at halftime, and trading baskets with the Falcons in the third quarter which ended with Lake on top by 48-42.
Lake shot well from inside and outside throughout the game, finishing with 20 baskets in 37 tries, including 5 of 11 threes, for 54 percent.
Five points by Tate and 8 by Gallagher sparked Lake to its first quarter lead. Seven more points by Gallagher and 6 by Personius helped Lake increase its margin to 7 at halftime.
Ochiltree’s three just after halftime gave Lake its biggest lead, 33-25, before a 7-point Prairie run, culminated by Corral’s three, cut that to a single point. Lake responded quickly and aggressively, closing out the quarter with another Ochiltree three, two lay-ins by Gallagher, and a pair of threes by Personius to lead by 6 entering the fourth.
Lake’s biggest weakness all season, turnovers, allowed Prairie to tie the game at 50-all on Corral’s three with 3:15 left, but a Tri rebound basket at 2:45 and Gallagher’s lay-in at 2:05 regained the lead for the Vikings at 54-50.
Seventeen seconds later, Ochiltree stole and ball and the rest will go down in infamy in Viking history. Snohomish 49, Lake 38
Wasted were Gallagher’s 22 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and a blocked shot. Likewise Tri’s 8 points, 3 assists, 10 rebounds and a blocked shot.
With a State Tournament trophy on the line, not to mention bragging rights as the Northwest District’s top team, Lake came out the next morning flat, listless and emotionally deflated against Snohomish.
In its worst performance of the season, Lake surrendered an early 11-7 lead to a 24-4 Snohomish run to fall behind, after the first quarter ended at 11-all, by 25-15 at halftime and 40-20 after three.
Lake awoke from its stupor in time to make the final score respectable, but not in time to pull out a win -- although, behind Gallagher and Personius, who combined to score 14 of Lake’s 18 points in the quarter, Lake cut the gap to 45-36 with 3:11 left. After that Lake missed three contested lay-ins which might have made things extremely interesting. Snohomish made all 6 of its free throws in the quarter to stay safely ahead. The final was 49-38, giving Snohomish a two to one edge in games between the rivals this season.
The stats were (perhaps deceptively) nearly even. Lake made 15 of 41 field goals, including 3 of 8 threes, while Snohomish was 16 of 41 including 3 of 10 threes. Lake out-rebounded the Panthers by 26-25 but committed 19 turnovers to Snohomish’s 14. The Panthers’ 14 of 16 at the line (to Lake’s 9 of 14) proved to be a key factor.
nohomish did a good job of sealing off Lake’s “twin towers,” Gallagher and Tri, holding them to a combined 3 of 11 field goals and 9 points and 7 rebounds overall.
Inexplicably, Ochiltree took only two shots for the entire game (though she made both of them, one a three).
Tate and Personius, who each had an outstanding tournament, combined for 22 points, more than half of Lake’s total.
Thus Lake’s season ended short of its goal of bringing home a trophy from State, though its Wesco North championship and its 22-4 overall record are outstanding achievements. Were it not for an official’s devastating, highly questionable call, who knows how much further this Viking team might have gone?