The Newport girls basketball team saw its season come to an end with a 61-35 loss to Issaquah in a 4A Wes-King district playoff game on Feb. 18 at Lynnwood High School.
Newport head coach Cuong Luu said the team showed resilience to win two loser-out games to keep its season alive. The Knights beat North Creek 66-56 in a loser-out league tournament game on Feb. 7. In their first district playoff game, the Knights beat Jackson 58-39 in another loser-out game on Feb. 14. A loss to Inglemoor in the second round of the district tournament set up their third loser-out game of the season.
“KingCo 4A is really tough,” Luu said. “From top to bottom, it’s a tough conference. We’re happy to have gotten as deep as we’ve got, obviously we wish we would have continued, but this is a great group of kids and they showed a lot of resilience by battling all the way to the very end.”
The Knights got off to a slow start offensively in the first half, as they entered halftime trailing 22-10.
“In the first half, (Issaquah) played great defense, but at the same time, the ball wouldn’t go through the basket,” Luu said. “We had good looks and we just weren’t getting the ball to go in.”
The Eagles opened the third quarter on a 15-0 run to extend their lead to 37-10 midway through the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the two teams traded baskets as Issaquah closed out the game for a 61-35 win.
Luu said their offensive struggles forced them to change the way they were defending, which created more offensive chances for Issaquah.
“We have to gamble a little bit more and open up gaps a little bit more in our defense and that translates to a lot of buckets and Issaquah is really great at putting those away,” Luu said.
Junior guard Charlee Arthur led the scoring for the Knights with 18 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter.
The loss was the final high school basketball game for six Newport seniors; Ashley Auld, Leila Benzinger, Olivia Golan, Makayla Iglesias, Amelia Poad and Eva Richards.
“We have a lot of great seniors and great leaders on this team that have really dug in and given their blood, sweat and tears for this team, and we’re going to miss them a lot moving forward,” Luu said. “They’ve meant a lot to the school, to the program and a lot to me personally.”
After their 59-50 loss to Inglemoor, Arthur said playoff basketball is a non-stop grind.
“It’s kind of a long season, so you have to tough it out,” Arthur added. “So I think in life, it’s like, keep working hard no matter what, even when you’re tired. Still show up, still do everything that you need to do, because we’re all tired, but if we can all keep pushing, the team that can push the hardest is gonna come out on top.”