Newport cut Issaquah’s lead to one heading into the fourth quarter, but the Eagles hit two 3-pointers and a pair of key free throws to secure a 58-53 road victory over the Knights in girls basketball action on Jan. 3.
Junior guard Charlee Arthur led the Knights with a game-high 18 points, with 14 of them coming in the second half. Senior Olivia Golan (12 points) and sophomore Allie Harrison (10 points) also hit double-digits for the Knights.
Newport girls basketball head coach Cuong Luu said the close game was not surprising due to the similarities between the two 4A KingCo Crest rivals.
“We saw film on Issaquah and we recognized that we are very similar teams,” Luu said. “We’re built very similarly. They like to do a lot of the same stuff. We couldn’t get some shots to drop down the stretch and that’s kind of how it crumbled.”
The two teams traded baskets early in the first quarter, but the Eagles went on an 11-2 run late in the quarter to take a 19-14 advantage over the Knights.
After an evenly matched second quarter, the Eagles took a 33-27 advantage into halftime. Issaquah got its largest lead of the game when senior guard Lauren Frueh converted a three-point play to make it a 36-27 game early in the third quarter. The Knights responded, going on a 12-4 run to cut the Eagles’ lead to 40-39 going into the fourth quarter.
In the third quarter, Arthur scored eight points and grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds. Strong defensive play from Golan helped the Knights slow down the Eagles’ offense, holding Issaquah to seven points in the quarter.
The Eagles scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to create separation. With less than three minutes left, Issaquah’s Lauren Frueh made an important 3-pointer to extend the Eagles’ lead to 56-48.
“I feel like we got exhausted in the fourth quarter and we gave up some wide-open threes and (Issaquah) knocked them down, credit to them,” Luu said.
Newport senior guard Eva Richards would cut the Issaquah lead to 56-53 with 10 seconds left, but Frueh made two free throws with three seconds left to secure the 58-53 win for the Eagles.
Luu said the Eagles are one of the grittier teams they’re going to face this season.
“(Issaquah) plays to the most of their potential and we’re going to have to learn how to meet that level of intensity and play to our potential,” Luu said. “I believe our ceiling is pretty high, so once we figure out how to consistently play to that every night, we should be a tough team to play against.”
Luu said he would have liked to see his team kick the ball out to find some open 3-pointers, but he was happy with the looks they were getting.
“Sometimes the ball doesn’t fall through the basket,” Luu said.
The Knights bounced back in their next league game, beating the Liberty Patriots, 45-42, on Jan. 6, to improve their overall record to 8-3. The Newport girls will be back in action against North Creek on Jan. 10 at North Creek High School.
In a game full of spectacular individual performances, the Newport boys fell short in a 71-66 loss to Issaquah on Jan. 3.
Newport juniors Ryan Thompson (28 points) and Cole Haller (12 points) led the way for the Knights, who led by as much as seven in the third quarter.
Newport was unable to slow down Issaquah’s Danny Howe, a 6-foot-9 junior forward, who went off for a career high 34 points.
Howe’s 15 points gave the visitors a 24-17 lead after the first quarter, but Newport came out flying in the second quarter, outscoring Issaquah 17-5 to take a 34-29 lead into halftime. The Knights defense tightened up in the second quarter, holding Howe to two points.
In the third quarter, the Knights took their largest lead of the game after Thompson made a pair of free throws to put Newport up 42-35 midway through the quarter. Howe answered right back with a pair of 3-pointers to pull within a point.
The Eagles pulled ahead late in the quarter to take a 52-50 lead into the fourth quarter. Issaquah carried its momentum into the fourth quarter, scoring the first eight points of the frame to take a 62-52 lead with four minutes left. Newport fought back, and Thompson made a pair of free throws to pull within two, 66-64, with less than two minutes left. The Eagles would hit five out of their six free throws in the final 42 seconds to secure their 71-66 victory over the Knights.
The Knights suffered another close loss to the Kentlake Falcons, 82-78, on Jan. 6. Thompson led the Knights with 30 points and Haller added 22 points and 11 rebounds. Newport will look for their first league win of the season when they travel to face North Creek on Jan. 10.