BELLINGHAM - Twice the Bellingham girls' basketball team overcame large Lake Washington runs. A final fourth-quarter and overtime surge proved too much for the Red Raiders to handle.
Bellingham erased first- and third-quarter deficits, but when Lake Washington finally got the ball in the hands of its two 6-foot posts in the final 11 minutes, Bellingham couldn't make much-needed defensive stops.
"I thought we came in with a good game plan," Bellingham coach Brad McKay said. "We knew they were going to have a couple big posts, and we would have trouble taking away some of their direct passes. The difference was Lake Washington was finally able to get it in, and they made those easy (baskets) over the top of us."
The Kangs rallied from five points down with 5:30 left in the game, and outscored the Red Raiders 16-6 in remaining regulation and the overtime period, as Bellingham lost 50-45 in the first round of the Class 2A Northwest District Tournament consolation bracket Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Bellingham High School. The loss ended the season for the Red Raiders, who were making their first postseason appearance since Bellingham qualified for the state tournament during the 2008-09 season.
Bellingham's Michaela Knutson scored all of her team-high nine points in the second quarter, Olivia Halverson scored all of her eight points in the third quarter and Alicia Romero finished with six points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
In a game of scoring runs, Knutson's and Halverson's standout quarters seemed to be enough to extend Bellingham's season, but the Red Raiders couldn't make a bucket in the final 4:05 of regulation while Lake Washington made key plays to send the game into OT.
"In the end, we had the looks we needed to win the game, but we just couldn't knock them down," McKay said.
Bellingham's Jenn Paul had the best chance to win the game in the final seconds of regulation. Tied at 41 with 6 seconds left, Paul received a pass from Halverson on the run towards Lake Washington's basket. The Red Raider guard drove the lane and put up a promising runner, but it rimmed out to send the game to OT.
Lake Washington's 6-foot-2 Carly Rataushk scored four of her game-high 13 points in the Kangs' first two possessions to give LW a 45-43 lead. Two free throws by Lake Washington's Sydney Shepard and a bucket by Sara Wilson pushed the Kangs in front 49-43, and Bellingham couldn't make up the deficit.
"It's a district tournament," McKay said. "You have to play well to win, and we just didn't play well enough to win. Give Lake Washington credit. They made the plays to win."
Bellingham trailed 8-2 after the first quarter, but after managing just one field goal in the first eight minutes, the Red Raiders scored 18 points in the second quarter. Knutson scored nine in the quarter and was 7 of 8 from the free-throw line. She helped Bellingham take a 20-15 lead into halftime.
Lake Washington, which committed 22 turnovers against Bellingham's strong defense, finally figured out the Red Raiders' full-court press early in the second half and outscored Bellingham 10-1 in the first 2:30 of the third quarter.
Thanks to eight third-quarter points by Halverson, including a 3-pointer from the top of the arch, Bellingham stormed back to take a 36-30 lead heading into the final quarter.
"Halve is always kind of the hub of our wheel," said McKay of Halverson. "We got Halve the ball in a lot of places, and she starting scoring in the third. Michaela came in in the second when we really needed her."
Bellingham finished its season with an 11-12 overall record in its first year under McKay, and the Red Raiders' coach said he hopes making the postseason is a step in the right direction.
"I've explained to these kids, we need to continue to make the playoffs," McKay said. "We need to continue to compete and be able to put that sweat in the bucket, and it'll pay off in the long run."
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862.
LAKE WASHINGTON 50, BELLINGHAM 45 (OT)
Lake Washington 8 7 15 11 9 - 50
Bellingham 2 18 16 5 4 - 45
Lake Washington: Margot Lynch 6, Sara Wilson 9, Hannah Brender 3, Carter Nelson 0, Sydney Shepard 9, Peyton Wozeniac 5, Madison Shepard 5, Carly Rataushk 13. Team totals: 18-49 9-16 50.
Bellingham: Carleen Syth 0, Jenn Paul 4, Ashley Spink 7, Michaela Knutson 9, Monica Ziels 3, Alicia Romero 6, Olivia Halverson 8, Catrina Mahoney 2, Joelle Zamora 6. Team totals: 17-47 9-17 45.
3-ptg: Lake Washington 4 (Lynch 2), Bellingham 2 (Ziels/Halverson 1). Rebounds: Lake Washington 32 (Rataushk 13), Bellingham 31 (Romero 11). Assists: Lake Washington 7 (Wilson/S. Shepard 2), Bellingham 8 (Syth/Halverson 2). Fouls: Lake Washington 17, Bellingham 18 (Zamora). Turnovers: Lake Washington 22, Bellingham 19.
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.