YAKIMA – For the first quarter of Freeman’s opening-round game Wednesday against La Center, the movie “Groundhog Day” had to be going through the mind of Scotties coach Ashley Taylor.
The first-year coach surely thought she was playing the Bill Murray character from the 1993 movie as she watched the Scotties struggle against a lightly regarded opponent in the opening round for the second straight year.
Thankfully for Taylor, the opening period turned out to merely be a bad trailer as her young squad exploded for 26 second-quarter points and easily vanquished the Wildcats 66-30 at the State 1A girls basketball tournament at the SunDome.
The second-ranked Scotties (24-0) advance to tonight’s 7:30 quarterfinal against ninth-ranked Bellevue Christian, an easy winner over Columbia (Burbank).
For Freeman, the win is the fourth straight at state and gives the Scotties a 10-3 record at state since 2005. That record includes three trophies, a total the Scotties can guarantee will grow with a win today. For La Center, the loss was the seventh first-round loss in 10 tournament appearances.
Freeman came into the 2008 state tournament with its eye on a state title, but was stunned by unheralded Granger 51-35 in the first round. The Scotties battled back to claim the fifth-place trophy.
This season, throughout a 23-0 run heading into state, Taylor believed there would be no repeat of 2008. Then, for eight agonizing minutes, there were turnovers (11), fouls (six) and missed shots (eight).
“We knew that we’d have some issues with nerves,” Taylor said. “We didn’t think it would be like that.”
Compounding the bad start was the foul dilemma of leading scorer MacKenzie Taylor. The sophomore picked up her second foul two minutes into the game. After sitting for a couple of minutes, she was back just long enough to pick up her third foul with 1:04 remaining in the first quarter. She took a seat near her coach, who happens to be her older sister, for the rest of the first half.
But a quick chat between periods seemed to have the desired effect.
“Calm down,” Ashley Taylor said when asked what she told her team between periods.
They did, reeling off 16 points in the first 4:35 of the second quarter for a 26-9 lead. The advantage grew to 24 points (36-12) at halftime.
Freeman senior Carley Heinen had 10 points and eight rebounds, while freshman Alyssa Maine scored nine and grabbed eight boards. Megan McIntyre led the Scotties with 15 points, while Korina Baker scored 10.
Lake Roosevelt 61, Columbia (Burbank) 56: Edward Wolfe scored 25 of his game-high 27 points in the second half to lead the Raiders (16-8) past the Coyotes (12-12).