Newport Knights girls basketball head coach Travis Whitaker wasn’t worried before his team took the floor for the third quarter against the Issaquah Eagles.
Issaquah, which led Newport 21-20 after two quarters of play, saw their lead disappear in the third quarter of play. The Knights outscored the Eagles 23-8 in the third stanza, building a 14-point lead. Newport freshman Charlee Arthur buried a three-pointer at the buzzer, extending Newport’s lead to 43-29. Issaquah didn’t go away quietly in the fourth quarter. They cut Newport’s lead to six points on four different occasions but Newport held on for a 63-57 win Jan. 26 at Newport High School in Factoria. Newport, which has been victorious in their past seven contests, improved its KingCo 4A record to 11-2 with the win. Issaquah dropped to 7-6 in league play with the loss.
“We’ve been great in the third quarter all year long. I challenged them at halftime to just do what they do. They came out and played a really good third quarter. It made a big difference for us,” Whitaker said.
The Knights relied on clutch free throw shooting in the final eight minutes of regulation to preserve the win. Newport knocked down eight free throws from the charity stripe to fend off Issaquah’s rally.
“I love it. We’re a smart team. We get the ball to the great free throw shooters that we have on this team. They stepped up and did their job. We did an awesome job finishing the game,” Whitaker said.
The Knights girls basketball program is currently tied for second place in the KingCo 4A division. It has been a long time since the Knights were this formidable on the hardwood and that was something that had Whitaker brimming with pride following the win against Issaquah.
“This group has fought through a lot of adversity. They’ve had several years of tough seasons and they’ve worked so hard to get here. I’m so happy for them,” he said.
Newport junior guard Nicole Chan scored a game-high 23 points and hit five three-pointers in the win. Newport senior Vanessa Hsia added 12 points as well.