Issaquah girls leading run back to playoffs
December 22, 2009
Girls Basketball Preview
The Issaquah High School girls basketball team might be a little short in size, but the Eagles thus far aren’t coming up short on the scoreboard.
Of the local teams, the Eagles are by far off to the best start. Issaquah has won its first six games of the season, and four of them have come in 4A KingCo Conference play. That’s not bad for a team that doesn’t have a 6-footer on the roster.
Issaquah, however, has a winning tradition and the Eagles are shooting for a return to the 4A state tournament. Skyline and Liberty are eyeing post-season competition, too.
Eagles win on hustle, defense
Issaquah won three games last week, including a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback to beat Eastlake 51-45 Dec. 18 at Eastlake.The Eagles, like they have often this season, shot to an early lead. Issaquah led 19-9 at the end of the first quarter.
However, Eastlake fought back and led by one point at the end of the third quarter. Issaquah outscored Eastlake 17-10 in the fourth quarter to win the contest.
Blaire Brady, who plays bigger than her 5-foot-8 size, helped spark the Eagles in the fourth quarter. Brady scored off a putback with 2:14 left to put Issaquah ahead 43-40 and the Eagles stayed ahead for good. She finished the game with nine points and 11 rebounds.
Domi Mendezona led the Eagles with 13 points and Maddy Pflaumer contributed 12 points. Mendezona scored eight of her points in the final quarter.
Issaquah also defeated Lake Washington 54-40 Dec. 16. Pflaumer paced the Eagles with 18 points and Brady had 10 points.
The Eagles finished the week Dec. 19 with a 49-41 nonleague victory against Bellevue. Pflaumer and Mackenzie Schiltz each had 14 points to top Issaquah.
Among the Eagles’ early triumphs this season was a 62-45 victory against Garfield, which entered the season regarded as one of the state’s top 4A teams.
Issaquah has since caught the attention of the pollsters, moving up to seventh place in the most recent Seattle Times Top 10.
The Eagles went 19-8 last year and have Pflaumer, Mendezona, Brady, Brooke Miller, Schiltz, Taryn Holmes and Dayna Talley from that team. Freshman guard Aimee Brakken is expected to help contribute to Issaquah’s success this season, too.
At 5-11, Pflaumer is Issaquah’s tallest player. The Eagles are still relatively young with just one senior – Mendezona – on the roster.
“Our juniors do have a lot of game experience,” coach Kathy Gibson said. “We are short. It remains to be seen how well we can overcome a serious lack of height.
“As usual, we are quick and athletic,” she added. “We will need to take full advantage of offensive opportunities created by our pressure defense.”
Spartans look to leaders
Skyline finished just over .500 (11-10 overall, 9-7 in KingCo) last year and looks to make the playoffs in the 2009-2010 season.
Returning players and captains, seniors Kassia Fortier and Alex Angel and junior Michelle Bretl, will lead a relatively young group of newcomers.
Sophomore newcomer Morgan Farrar will get a chance in the starting lineup as a guard.
Skyline enters this week 1-3 in KingCo and 3-3 overall.
The Spartans defeated Bothell 54-41 Dec. 16. Skyline dominated the first half, outscoring Bothell 33-11. Fortier, the team’s leading scorer this season, paced the Spartans with 16 points. Farrar contributed eight points and Rachel Shim had seven points.
Skyline lost to Newport 55-41 Dec. 18. Fortier had a team-high 11 points. Amy Ziegler added nine points and Shim had seven points.
Patriots win twice
Liberty won two games last week to even its season record at 3-3.
The Patriots defeated Spanaway Lake 50-41 Dec. 19 in a nonleague contest. Aspen Winegar led Liberty with 14 points. Breanne Faehnrich contributed nine points and Halie Ericksen added eight points.
Liberty walloped Sammamish 72-31 Dec. 16 in a 3A/2A KingCo contest. Winegar again led the Patriots with 12 points and Faehnrich had 11 points. Karlie Ludwig added nine points.
The Patriots struggled some in the first four games. In the first game, the Patriots lost to Skyline 60-30 and in the second game fell to unbeaten Newport 46-39. In the third game, Liberty defeated Mount 60-45 and in the fourth game it lost to Bellevue 55-48.
Winegar, a sophomore forward, and Danni Sjolander, a junior forward, have led the team in scoring the first four games.
Sjolander and Ericksen, a junior forward, have led the team in rebounds.
Liberty coach Randy Leifer said the team is improving.
“We’re still trying to learn to play together as a group,” he said. “We’re young, and I think we’re going to get better as the season goes on.”
Leifer said the toughest games of the season would be against Mercer Island Jan. 15 and Feb. 9, as well as the remaining game against Bellevue Jan. 27.
Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tim Pfarr: 392-6434, ext. 239, or email@example.com. Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.