The Bellevue girls basketball team finished third at the league tournament, setting up a loser-out game against the Roosevelt Roughriders in the first round of the district tournament on Feb. 15. The Roughriders edged out the Wolverines, 42-39, to bring an end to Bellevue’s season.
KingCo tournament: In order to keep their season alive, the Wolverines rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to beat the Interlake Saints, 47-41, in a 3A KingCo loser-out game on Feb. 11 at Sammamish High School.
In the loser-out game against Interlake, the Wolverines were led by junior Sophia Friend and sophomore Maggie Wang, who both had 11 points.
The Wolverines got off to a slow start, falling behind 24-13 at halftime, but Bellevue came out of the locker room on fire, going on a 10-0 run to cut the Saints’ lead to 24-23 early in the third quarter.
The Saints held a narrow lead for most of the fourth quarter until Bellevue sophomore Brooklyn Jones made a 3-pointer to give the Wolverines a 42-40 lead with 1:15 left, their first lead of the game. The Wolverines defense tightened up and held Interlake to only one point in the final three minutes to secure the win.
Bellevue head coach Nick Crossan said they have been a second-half team all season.
“They kind of lost confidence in the first half,” Crossan said. “But they got it together and their confidence took them a long way. The girls made up their mind and switched their mindset and changed their game.”
Crossan said he felt like the team didn’t have the necessary energy to start the game. The Wolverines didn’t make a basket until midway through the first quarter.
“They kind of looked like they weren’t ready to go from the get-go,” Crossan said. “But they woke up and took care of business.”
A possible reason for the slow start was the fact that Bellevue was coming off a tough loss to Mercer Island on Feb. 7, followed by a tiebreaker victory over the Islanders the next day.
“I think their energy level was spent from the tiebreaker,” Crossan said. “But that can’t be an excuse for a playoff game.”
One of the slogans the Wolverines use is “Middle of the ring,” something Crossan said his team showed against Interlake.
“It’s a huge testament to these girls,” Crossan said. “They never gave up and they continued to fight.”
The victory over Interlake guaranteed the Wolverines a spot in the SeaKing district tournament.
Before heading off to districts, the Wolverines took on the Juanita Rebels in the KingCo second-place game on Feb. 13 at Juanita High School. The Rebels were victorious, 57-38, to claim second place at the KingCo tournament.
Interlake: The Saints held a double digit lead at halftime, but they were outscored 34-17 in the second half in the loss to Bellevue. Interlake head coach Ryan Cruz said the team has struggled to close out games this year.
“It’s been our problem all season,” Cruz said. “We’ve been a really good first-half team, but we’re young and we have to learn how to win. We’re just not there yet and it was evident in the second half.”
Interlake sophomore Mira Chew had a game-high 13 points and fellow sophomore Tori Concepcion added nine points, all from beyond the arc.
Cruz said the team made mistakes and didn’t play winning basketball down the stretch.
“We have to learn to stay poised,” Cruz said. We got rattled and turned the ball over late and forced some shots. We really didn’t execute to win.”
With seven sophomores and three freshmen, the Saints will return plenty of familiar faces next year.
“It’s a building block,” Cruz said of the season. “I’m excited about the future.”