Grizzlies take second place at state tournament | Girls basketball

Glacier Peak loses 60-46 to Kentridge in 4A title contest
By David Pan | Mar 17, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Glacier Peak’s Abbie Juozapaitis, Kayla Watkins, Nicole Jensen and Samantha Fatkin walk off the court, while Kentridge players celebrate winning the 4A state championship Saturday, March 4, at the Tacoma Dome.

Glacier Peak made history at the 4A state girls basketball tournament.

The Grizzlies advanced to their first-ever championship game but didn’t achieve their goal of a state title, losing to Kentridge 60-46 Saturday, March 4, at the Tacoma Dome.

“We fell short of what we wanted to do this year, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” senior guard Samantha Fatkin said. “Going to war with these girls all season, I wouldn’t want anything else. I wouldn’t want any other teammates and we didn’t finish how we wanted to but no regrets. We left it out on the floor.”

Glacier Peak coach Brian Hill noted that seniors Fatkin, Paisley Johnson and Kayla Watkins and their teammates set record after record this season, including most points scored in a game, most assists, most rebounds and of course, the highest finish for a girls basketball team.

“That tells you what these girls are all about,” Hill said. “They set another record or another level for us and that’s a second-place finish. You can’t scoff at that. I think half the state, 4A people, probably didn’t know who we were before this year. I’m really proud of them.”

Watkins said that her goal was to finish the final year of her high school career with her teammates at the Tacoma Dome.

“We got the chance to do it,” she said.

Johnson said that playing in the Tacoma Dome “motivated me to work hard.”

The final score was misleading in that the game was back and forth until midway through the fourth quarter. The Chargers led 17-15 after the first quarter and the two teams went into halftime tied at 28. Defense reigned supreme in the third quarter with Kentridge barely outscoring Glacier Peak 9-7 to take a 37-35 lead into the fourth quarter.

Watkins made 1 of 2 free throws to cut the deficit to 39-38 with 6:24 left in the period.

Sophomore Jordan Jenkins, who finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds then made back-to-back baskets and senior Tresai McCarver connected on a 3-pointer to give the Chargers a 46-38 lead.

The Grizzlies finally responded with a 3-pointer of their own by Watkins to trim the Kentridge advantage to 46-41 with 3:34 to go.

McCarver followed with a basket and Jenkins made two free throws to push the Chargers’ lead to 50-41. Glacier Peak had a chance to cut the deficit but missed two free throws at the 2-minute mark.

Senior guard Bronte Fourgere then hit a 3-pointer with 1:29 remaining to extend the Kentridge lead to 53-41 and all but extinguish any Grizzlies’ hopes of a comeback.

Kentridge made 7 of 8 free throws to seal the victory and claim the school’s first state girls basketball championship.

“We dared them to hit shots and they hit shots,” Hill said. “We were having a hard time rebounding.”

Sophomore JaQuaya Miller scored a game-high 27 points and also had a game-high 17 rebounds. Miller (6-foot-4) and Jenkins (6-1) combined for 29 rebounds for the game, while the Grizzlies finished with 32 for the game. In the first half, the Chargers’ duo outrebounded Glacier Peak 17-15.

Miller and Jenkins created significant inside challenges for the Grizzlies.

“A lot of our game is to go inside and they have two really good and really big posts and that was a problem for us,” Hill said. “We had a hard time trying to do some of our sets and they just ended up just beating us on the outside.

“They hit a couple of 3s and we didn’t think they would. We were hoping they might get one. I think they got five or six and they were big ones at the end of the shot clock and they ran it down and the clock is your friend when you have a lead. It’s your enemy when you don’t.”

Watkins led the Grizzlies with 14 points and Fatkin and Johnson each scored 13 points. Glacier Peak shot 28 percent from the field and was only 4 of 21 on 3-point shots.

“We had a 3 here and there,” Hill said. “We’re better shooters than this and it just didn’t show when we needed it to.”

The Grizzlies (24-2), the Wesco 4A and Northwest District 1 champions, opened state tournament play with a 48-47 victory over Sunnyside in a quarterfinal match-up on Thursday, March. 2. Watkins scored 18 points and Johnson added 12.

Glacier Peak then knocked off Moses Lake, who beat Kentridge 65-57 in a state regional contest, 55-51 in the semifinals. Johnson led the Grizzlies with 17 points. Fatkin scored 15 points and Nicole Jensen added 11 points. Watkins had 10 points.

“Second place is awesome. We wanted to win. Oviously that’s your goal,” Hill said. “We have the talent to do it. Kentridge came and they battled. … We had to battle against Sunnyside and found a way to win. We had to battle against Moses Lake and found a way to win and today we couldn’t find a way to win.”

Johnson earned first-team, all-tournament honors, while Fatkin and Watkins were voted to the second team.

Hill said that he’s going to miss his seniors. Fatkin, Johnson and Watkins all are headed to Division I schools and the Glacier Peak coach is looking forward to following their basketball careers in college.

Fatkin, Johnson and Watkins helped the Grizzlies make a name for themselves in girls basketball.

“I hope teams recognize that we have a really good program and we have girls that work hard,” Hill said. “These three kind of have left a legacy. … It’s going to be big shoes for them to fill next year. We’ll look for the underclassmen to fill it next year. I hope they step up for the challenge.”

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