Eagles beat Pasco, will play for fourth place at state

March 6, 2009

By Ryan Piersol

UPDATED — 5:36 p.m. March 6, 2009

The Issaquah girls basketball team pulled off a 52-50 consolation-round win Friday against the state’s top-ranked team, Pasco, at the Tacoma Dome. Issaquah handed Pasco only its second loss of the season.

The win put the Lady Eagles (19-7) into the fourth-place match against Auburn-Riverside (22-7) Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

March 5 – quarterfinals

The Federal Way girls basketball team opted not to trap Issaquah when the two teams were being introduced for the start of a Class 4A state quarterfinals contest Thursday night.

It was the last time Federal Way would be so nice.

Using a trapping defense that seemingly covered the entire court, Federal Way forced 19 turnovers and ran away from Issaquah 54-38 at the Tacoma Dome.
Attempting to find someone to take care of the ball, Issaquah head coach Kathy Gibson went to the bench relentlessly. By the time it had emptied — and the turnovers had reached double digits — the game was out of reach.

“We didn’t handle it very well. We just had a lot of mental mistakes and didn’t handle that pressure very well,” Gibson said afterward. “Why? I don’t know. The girls knew what they were supposed to do. They just didn’t do it.

“We’re a better team than that. Federal Way is a good team, but unfortunately, they didn’t beat us doing our best.”

When Issaquah inbounded the ball at the far end of the court, the Eagles were trapped. When they moved it beyond halfcourt, they were trapped. Even when Issaquah dumped the ball into the post, offensive players were met with a swarm of Federal Way arms and legs.

The result was, not only more turnovers than the Eagles are accustomed to, but field goal shooting percentage of 22 in the first half and 23 in the second half.

It was all about Federal Way’s defense.

“That’s the way we’ve played all year long. We’re kind of scatter-brained offensively, so really, our offense is our defense,” Federal Way head coach Danny Graham said. “Our goal is to try to get steals and pressure. We want you to, if you shoot, be pressured.

“This was a very good team tonight. And it was a very good shooting team. But we just caused them to shoot a second quicker than they wanted to and that caused them to miss a lot.”

Erin Nicol led Issaquah with 15 points, 11 of which came from the free-throw line.

The Eagles grabbed a 6-3 lead early on, but Federal Way finished the first period with a 5-0 run to take control of a lead it never relinquished. A 3-point play put the deficit to 16-8 at the 4:40 mark of the second period and it was 25-16 at halftime.

After a Nicol free throw, Issaquah still trailed only 30-21, when Federal Way ripped off a 7-0 spurt that made it 37-21 with 3:26 left in the third and all but put the game away. It was 41-25 going into the fourth quarter, and the lead grew to as many as 22 points in the final minutes.

Issaquah, which had opened the state tournament a day earlier with a win against Jackson, is scheduled to take on top-ranked Pasco at 3:30 p.m. today in the consolation bracket.

The loss to Federal Way finishing at about 11 p.m. Thursday didn’t leave the Eagles much team to recoup.

“These games are tough to lose, because everyone wants to win. It’s kind of who can bounce back the fastest, really, and who wants to bounce back,” Gibson said. “It’s tough to bounce back and is a tough mental challenge for the girls.”

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