The Bellevue Wolverines girls basketball team never forgot its lopsided 77-49 loss to the Cleveland Eagles during the 2013-14 season.
The Wolverines avenged last season’s defeat with a 59-44 win against the Eagles in the Class 3A Sea-King District II semifinals Feb. 19 at Bellevue College. The game was much closer than the score indicated. The Wolverines led the Eagles 32-19 at halftime but Cleveland refused to fold, cutting Bellevue’s lead to single digits on five occasions in the final 16 minutes of play. Bellevue players Mandy Steward and Shelby Cansler made key buckets/plays down the stretch to stop the Eagles from closing the deficit.
“We played them last year and we got blown out,” Steward said. “Their crowd and their bench is very loud and we knew that rattled a lot of our players. This year we prepared for that in practice. We had drills where we would just stay calm. That was the key. We stayed calm and were not rattled.”
Bellevue head coach Leah Krautter said playing against a team like Cleveland will pay off in the Class 3A state playoffs.
“It was really about just keeping our composure. The crowd noise and the bench noise make it tough to keep a lead the entire game. We got rattled a little bit, but we need that right now because we’re going to face teams that play like that. We just have to play confident and play under control,” Krautter said.
Krautter said the dynamic duo of Steward and Cansler are the Wolverines’ top two scorers.
“They both played great,” she said. “They are tough to stop, but in reality we have a pretty strong, deep team. Since we do have so many threats on our team it opens up stuff for them and they capitalize on it.”
The Wolverines defeated the Juanita Rebels 57-50 in the Class 3A Sea-King District II championship game on Feb. 21 at Bellevue College. Bellevue, the No. 1 seed out of the Sea-King District II, will face the Lincoln Abes at 6 p.m. on Feb. 28 at Bellevue College in a winner-to-state, loser-out regional playoff game.
Shaun Scott: 425-453-5045; firstname.lastname@example.org