Braves defeat Wolverines in first round of state playoffs

Bellevue Wolverines girls basketball head coach Noah Wulbert couldn’t have been more proud following the final game of the 2017-18 season.

The Wolverines saw their season end courtesy of a 55-41 loss to the Bethel Braves in a winner-to-quarterfinal, loser-out Class 3A state first round playoff game on Feb. 28 at the Tacoma Dome. Bellevue finished the 2017-18 season with an overall record of 21-6. The Wolverines set a goal of playing in the Tacoma Dome (Class 3A state tournament) in early season practices.

That aspiration was attained.

“I’m really proud of them,” Wulbert said. “The expectations for this group (from outside the program) was not that high. It was supposed to be Redmond (top team) easily in our league and we came out and beat them two out of three times. To get here is a fantastic accomplishment. It was a tough way to end tonight but I’m really proud of their effort.”

Bethel led by 11 at halftime but Bellevue hit back-to-back three-pointers early in the third quarter to cut into Bethel’s lead.

“We needed those buckets,” Wulbert said. “We talked at halftime and really the difference in the game was that they got a couple of easy transition buckets. Other than that, our game-plan was working the way we wanted it to. They (Bethel) were 2-of-17 from three (point range) in the first half. We started hitting shots but we couldn’t get the stops on the the other end to get that gap to where we felt like it was attainable.”

Bellevue junior Montana Jones scored a team-high nine points in the season finale for the Wolverines. Sophomore guard Eva Richards chipped in eight points as well.

Wulbert said he will miss outgoing seniors Annika Prins, Aubrey Baker and Carlie Gilbert. The matchup against Bethel was the final time they would lace up their basketball shoes with the Wolverines basketball program.

“Annika is the heart and soul of our team,” Wulbert said. “You can’t ask for more out of her. She isn’t necessarily the most athletic kid, but she gives it everything she has got every single night on both ends of the floor. Aubrey is a kid who really had to bide her time. She stuck with the program and was a great teammate for four years. It was great to see her get a year where she really got to contribute and show what she could do. Carlie is an all-around mega-athlete that happens to play basketball and she is pretty good at it.”