Newport Knights girls basketball head coach Travis Whitaker was proud of his team’s performance against one of the most formidable basketball squads in the Class 4A Division.
The Knights competed valiantly but lost 70-52 to the Eastlake Wolves in a Class 4A KingCo matchup between undefeated teams on Dec. 8 in Factoria. Eastlake, which advanced to the Class 4A state basketball tournament last season, improved to 5-0 overall. Newport dropped to 2-1. Newport cut Eastlake’s lead to 32-26 on a Jahdai Alcombrack basket early in the third quarter but couldn’t cut the deficit any closer for the remainder of the game. Eastlake outscored Newport 30-17 in the third quarter to put the game away. Whitaker knew Eastlake would be a challenging opponent for his team.
“We just need to be more consistent,” Whitaker said. “A team like Eastlake is going to press you. I thought we didn’t handle it the best. We scrapped and we stayed in the game for a while. Coming out of halftime we were playing pretty well. We cut it to five or six and needed to get some stops. They put on a run on us quickly and I felt like the wind came out of our sails a little bit. It got away from us.”
Despite the loss against a powerhouse Eastlake team, Whitaker believes his team will be just fine.
“I love my team. That was a great test against a really good team. It’s going to be as good of a test as we’re going to see in this league (KingCo),” Whitaker said. “I told the girls before the game that we needed to learn things tonight and I feel we did do that.”
Newport’s Nicole Chan scored a game-high 21 points in the loss. Chan hit six three-pointers. Newport guard Anateya Sommerville scored eight points as well.
Eastlake head coach Sara Goldie is pleased her squad is thriving early in the season. The Wolves returned all but one player from last year’s team to the varsity roster for the 2017-18 season.
“We had the expectation to be gelling but we didn’t necessarily expect it to be here this quick,” Goldie said. “We’re definitely happy with it and think its all about that level of effort that we bring. Every team in KingCo (Conference) is a good team and on any given night anybody can win. We know that we have to be on our game.”
The Wolves consistently make the extra pass and play as a cohesive unit on the floor.
“We share the ball. The last couple of games we’ve had four or five kids scoring in double digits,” Goldie said. “We just feel like we play that way its hard for any opponent to focus on one player. It works out for us.”