Bellevue girls win again, set for Sea-King title game, Newport set for 4A KingCo title game | Prep basketball news

Survive and advance.

Bellevue did exactly that Thursday in the semi-finals of the 3A Sea-King girls basketball tournament, beating Bishop Blanchet 61-56 in a back-and-forth affair.

"It was a pretty frustrating game," head coach Leah Krautter said. "I'm glad we kept our heads."

Things were chippy throughout, with both teams racking up fouls on intensely physical play and fighting to the ground for loose balls. Bellevue did not take its final lead until a three-pointer from Mandy Steward with less than two minutes remaining.

The junior guard led all scorers with 23 points, while sophomore Shelby Cansler finished with 22 more. But it was a layup from Kate Holmes with 21 seconds left that pushed the lead to three, before a Blanchet shot with less than a second left banked off the backboard before rattling off the rim and out.

After hearing a vibrant group of Braves' students offer an imaginary countdown on the shot clock in the first half, twice resulting in a rushed Bellevue attempt, Holmes said she had special attention on the timer.

"I knew there were a couple seconds left," she said. "I just took an easy layup."

Timely shooting kept the Wolverines within striking distance at the break and left the door open in a third quarter that saw three lead changes and two ties.

The lead changed hands five more times in the fourth quarter, before five straight Steward points gave her team its final lead and the win.

With the Regional round and potentially 3A state tournament looming, Krautter said she was pleased to see her team respond under pressure.

"It was a good preview of what we will see from here on out," she said.

The win sends the Wolverines to Saturday's district tournament title game, against Cleveland, a 57-31 semi-final winner over Mercer Island.

Newport girls play for 4A KingCo title

Newport, which won a 35-30 semi-final game over Eastlake in the 4A KingCo girls basketball tournament Feb. 15, faces Inglemoor with the conference title on the line Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Juanita High School.

The Knights already own a 4A Regional berth and will be one of the 16 teams left vying for a state title next week.

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