TACOMA – It was a matter of survival for the Shadle Park girls basketball team Wednesday.
Playing without leading scorer Aleisha Hathaway, who had to sit out a game after being ejected late in the regional championship game, the Highlanders found a way to pull out a 47-46 decision over the Capital Cougars in a State 3A tournament opener at the Tacoma Dome.
“We let it inspire us,” Shadle senior guard Jenna Humphrey. “We knew it would be a struggle without her. So we wrote 34, which is her number, on our wrists so we would play for her. We knew that she wanted this really bad, too.”
Shadle (17-8) meets Seattle Prep (17-9) in the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. today.
The East Valley Knights gave the No. 1-ranked and defending state champ Kennedy Lancers all they could handle before falling 61-55.
East Valley (9-18) takes on Mount Rainier (18-7) in a loser-out game today at noon.
Shadle Park 47, Capital 46: The Highlanders took their first lead at 37-36 when junior guard Chelsea Chandler made a driving basket with 6:25 remaining in the fourth quarter.
From there it was back and forth until Chandler hit an 18-foot jumper and Humphrey scored on a runner and then took a nice pass off a steal by senior Shayle Dezellem moments later for a layup as Shadle had its biggest lead, 45-40, with 3:07 to go.
A basket by freshman post Kaycee Hert maintained the same margin, 47-42, for Shadle with 1:36 remaining.
That’s where things got a little dicey. Two free throws followed by a tough shot under the basket by Kelsey Antles pulled the Cougars within 47-46 with 25 seconds to go.
Humphrey missed the front end of an 1-and-1 with 13 seconds remaining, and the Highlanders survived a 3-point attempt before Chandler hauled down the rebound as the buzzer sounded.
In the regional final, Hathaway and East Valley’s Amber Swyers were assessed double flagrant technicals and ejected. By rule, they had to sit out their next game. Swyers sat out EV’s state-qualifying win over Hanford on Saturday, but Hathaway’s next game was the state opener.
Shadle coach Chad Dezellem said an appeal to the WIAA was made, but he learned after school Monday that it was denied. He’s actually not sure if an appeal was even considered since it’s not understood if such incidents can be appealed.
“I don’t know if there’s a route (for an appeal),” he said. “The WIAA needs to look at it. When mistakes are made, there should be some sort of process for looking at it. We use replay all the time in college. If you have it (video) and it’s dead obvious, why can’t they use it? That’s for my administrators to deal with. Again, it’s just common sense.”
Hathaway, a sophomore who averages 14.4 points, had to sit in the bleachers. There were many nail-biting moments.
“I had knots in my stomach throughout the entire game,” she said. “I was so nervous for them. I’m just proud of them and I love them so much. They got what needed to be done done.”
Kennedy 61, East Valley 55: The Knights didn’t back down.
Sure, they had some early jitters, falling behind 24-13 in the second quarter. But EV fought back.
A transition basket by Kimmie Thatcher, who took a pass from 25 feet away from senior point guard Jenni White, put the Knights ahead 47-45 with 6:06 to play.
They led one more time at 49-47 before the Lancers took the lead for good at 50-49.
“I don’t think anybody in the (bleachers) thought it was possible except for me, my players and their parents,” EV coach Rob Collins said.
EV didn’t have an answer for Kennedy guard Yaz Fuller, who had a game-high 33 points and nine rebounds.
White led EV with 17 points, nine rebounds, five steals and four assists. Thatcher had 14 points and six rebounds and Alicia Christiansen had 12 points.
“We’re playing with confidence and we’re playing hard,” Collins said.
Kennedy coach Tom Mummert was impressed with EV.
“They wanted it more than we did. They came out ready to play,” he said. “I think we took their record for granted. It was a real eye-opener.”