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Bellevue girls ready to make another state playoff push against Kennedy Catholic | Prep basketball news
Who: Bellevue (20-6, second seed Sea-King district) VS. Kennedy Catholic (18-7, fourth seed District 3/4)
When: Saturday, March 1, 12 p.m., Bellevue College
How they got here: The Lancers were the third seed and had a bye into the quarterfinals of the District 3/4 tournament, and beat Columbia River 71-56 to advance to the semi-finals.
Wilson beat Kennedy 66-44 to send them to the third place game, and another loss, 55-50 to Lincoln, made the Lancers the fourth seed.
Bellevue was the fourth seed into the 3A KingCo tournament after a coin flip (the Wolverines had the same conference mark as Mercer Island in the regular season), and earned a spot in the Sea-King district tournament with a first round win over Interlake.
Juanita, which won both regular season meetings between the two, was waiting in the semi-finals, which turned into a 56-48 Bellevue win.
The Wolverines beat Mercer Island for the KingCo title, then won two games in the Sea-King district tournament before falling to defending 3A state champion Cleveland in the district title game.
What's at stake: A second seed in the 3A state basketball tournament in the Tacoma Dome
For Bellevue coach Leah Krautter, it is easy to find a predictor of her team's success in the postseason.
"We really have to focus on amping up the toughness," she said. "One of the things we've been focusing on the last month or so is playing strong and being tough."
Krautter knows 2A/3A KingCo hasn't been a league known for physical play in recent years, and the games her team has played at the Sea-King and state tournaments the past two seasons have been played with a different feel, one she hopes the Wolverines have permanently adopted as their own.
She is certain that is what her team will find in the Lancers.
"They are really scrappy," she said. "We're ready for a physical game."
Kennedy Catholic head coach Greg Caldwell, in his second season after coming over from the boys' program, said the biggest key for his team has been finding cohesion after a rash of injuries and learning a new system stalled last year's run.
"We're really excited, and it is a good challenge for us," he said. "The most important thing is getting good shots and making sure we're taking care of the ball."
Bellevue will use its mix of trapping defenses to try and throw the Lancers off rhythm, and get into their signature transition offense and find openings in their half court sets.
"Our defense creates a lot of offense," Krautter said. "We get a lot of quick shots and sometimes we need to slow down a little bit."
The Wolverines, which have set lofty goals all year after a pair of postseason runs and a state semi final appearance last year,
"It has been our goal all season to make it back to Tacoma," Krautter said. "We're focusing on this win Saturday."