TACOMA – It was a long day for the University boys and girls basketball teams in more ways than one against arguably the best teams in the State 3A tournaments Thursday.
The No. 1-ranked Lakeside (Seattle) Lions used a 15-0 run in the first half as they cruised to a 69-48 win over the Titans boys while the second-ranked Cleveland Eagles were too much for the Titans girls 60-50 at the Tacoma Dome.
The U-Hi girls (14-11) meet Glacier Peak (18-7) in an elimination game this morning at 10:30 while the U-Hi boys (16-8) take on Mountlake Terrace (21-4) in a loser-out game at 2 p.m.
Lakeside 69, University 48: The Titans had many concerns going into their opener. But they couldn’t have been too worried about 7-footer Peter French, who entered averaging 4.4 points.
But French more than doubled his average with 10 points in the first 4:24 as Lakeside opened an 11-5 lead.
The Titans, behind their own unlikely sparkplug, Ben Kuiper, pulled within 13-11 when he made a basket with 2:27 to go in the first.
That’s when the Lions began to overmatch U-Hi. What ensued was a 15-0 run that extended Lakeside’s lead to 34-21 with 3:26 to go before halftime.
Lakeside led 40-23 at halftime.
“They missed some shots early and then they just rebounded everything,” U-Hi coach Garrick Phillips said.
The biggest lead came at 61-35 going into the fourth.
“We rotated to help but didn’t get anybody to rotate to the weakside,” Phillips said of the rebounding problems. “I thought offensive rebounds were a big difference. They outrebounded us 25-11 in the first half and that set the tone.”
Lakeside outrebounded U-Hi overall 48-28.
French led Lakeside with 18 points. Kuiper led U-Hi with 16.
Cleveland 60, University 50: The Titans gave a good account of themselves for 16 minutes – despite committing 14 turnovers in the first half.
And then the second-ranked Eagles took over.
First, Cleveland did it by limited senior Kayleigh Valley, who had averaged 24.5 points in four postseason games, to 11.
Second, the Eagles forced the Titans into 27 turnovers.
Third, Cleveland is simply better.
“We had a couple of days to prepare for them so I think we were prepared,” U-Hi coach Mark Stinson said. “It was just a matter of athleticism eventually catches up to you. That’s why the game is longer than we wanted it to be.”
Freshman Brooke Bailey scored five points as the Titans got out to a 17-10 lead.
They increased it to 20-12 early in the second, and that’s when Cleveland (25-2) got going.
U-Hi scored just three more points in the final 5 minutes, 56 seconds of the second. Cleveland finally pulled even at 23-23 by halftime.
“We took care of the ball and we shocked them a little bit,” Stinson said.
Turnovers caught up with the Titans in the final two quarters.
Makala Roper led Cleveland with 22 points, including four 3s.
“We covered her sometimes,” Stinson said. “She’s a great player (Roper). She gets her shot up quick. I don’t think it ever hit the rim. It went straight through. What a talented young lady.”
Valley had 11 rebounds. Morgan Hawley had 10 points.
“If they don’t win it I’m going to be surprised,” Stinson said of Cleveland.