One by one each Sehome girls’ basketball player stepped out of the locker room with tears in their eyes.
The Mariners didn’t expect to be competing in a Class 2A State Tournament regional game, but once they got there, nobody wanted it to end.
Despite a valiant comeback effort, Sehome fell 51-37 to Sammamish on Friday, Feb. 27, at Renton High School.
Sehome got behind early, struggling with the Totems’ press. At halftime, the Mariners trailed 20-10.
In the third, the Mariners narrowed the gap to seven, until a 3 by Sammamish’s Montana Hagstrom squashed the run.
With six minutes remaining in the game the Totems’ lead was back up to 15.
But in keeping with the season, in which Sehome has had three comeback wins in the last month to even get to state, the Mariners didn’t give up.
The rally began, as the Mariners clawed their way back. A steal and quick put-in by Sam Hruby with 4:10 left in the fourth cut the lead to nine.
But a pair of quick buckets by the Totems killed the momentum and any hope of a trip to the Yakima SunDome for the Hardwood Classic.
Coach Kim Kirk talked about what she called “the comeback kids” after the game.
“That’s a character piece. That’s something that’s going to stick with them their entire life,” Kirk said. “For some of these kids they’ll only play four years of high school but they have their life ahead of them. If they go into anything, whatever is in front of them, they’re going to be able to face it and challenge it. That says a lot about them.”
Senior Maddy Bryan led the Mariners with 15 points and 11 rebounds in her final game as a Mariner, while her stepsister and fellow senior Megan Bayless led the team in assists with three.
The two have played together since freshman year and were both starters their junior and senior seasons. For them to end their high school careers on the same court was special, Bryan said.
“It was pretty awesome,” Bryan said. “It was just icing on the cake to finish with her.”
Despite the loss, the Mariners felt proud, not only for making it to state but for meeting their goals.
The No. 1 goal Sehome set for the beginning of the year was to come together as a family. The second goal was to make districts. They exceeded both those expectations.
“I think for these guys, they’re friends first. That doesn’t always come around on a team,” Kirk said. “You hope as you put your team together they can be friends on the court but the fact that they’re friends on the court and friends off the court says a lot.”
While Sehome’s 9-16 record to end the season is nothing to write home about, the Mariners will look back on this season as a success.
“I’m just really proud of everyone,” Bryan said. “We bounced back really well from last year and we peaked when we were supposed to this season.”
It also laid the groundwork for Sehome returning to prominence after two sub-.500 years. The Mariners are loaded with sophomore talent and many returners stood out on Friday night.
Sophomore Hruby was a rebounding star, hauling in eight hustle boards, capitalizing on what Kirk said was a Sammamish weakness in weak-side rebounding. The Mariners as a team outrebounded the Totems 40-29.
Sophomore Madison Ulrich scored seven points — including a 3-ball — sophomore Marina Wright, juniors Jenny McIntyre and Devin Grahn, and freshman Sarah Eisses all played key roles throughout the game.
“We have some quality, quality players in our program,” Kirk said. “This right here has set a great tone for what we want to do. The fact we were 1-19 a season ago and are sitting at a state tournament game says a lot about those kids.”
But there’s no denying Bayless and Bryan will be missed. Bryan led the team in scoring each of the past two seasons, averaging 13 points per game in her senior year.
“She’s a competitor. She comes out every day and is one of our hardest workers. What you see out on the court in the game is what you see in practice,” Kirk said. “She’s done a tremendous job this season and I couldn’t be more proud of what she’s done and how she battled tonight.”
Sammamish 51, Sehome 37
Sehome: Jenny McIntyre 2, Maddy Hooker 0, Maddy Bryan 15, Gina Eisses 0, Megan Bayless 0, Sam Hruby 5, Madison Ulrich 7, Emma Clark 0, Devin Grahn 2, Marina Wright 4, Sarah Eisses 2. Totals: 13-54 9-11 37.
Sammamish: Alleyah Bennett 7, Callie Jenckes 0, Montana Hagstrom 17, Marissa Mincy 0, Alliyah Shinaul 4, Kelsey Brooks 2, Marissa Therriault 2, Morgan Mincy 9, Colby Jensen 0, Promise Taylor 10. Totals: 22-57 2-11 51.
3-point field goals — Sehome: 2 (Ulrich, Bryan 1); Sammamish: 5 (Hagstrom 3). Rebounds — Sehome: 40 (Bryan 11); Sammamish: 29 (Taylor 8). Assists — Sehome: 8 (Bayless 3); Sammamish: 13 (Hagstrom, Taylor 3). Fouls — Sehome: 10; Sammamish: 15. Turnovers — Sehome: 19; Sammamish: 9.