Issaquah wins Crest division

February 16, 2010

By Bob Taylor

Girls Basketball Roundup

The Issaquah High School girls basketball team has weathered all kinds of storms this season. There have been the issues of lack of size, youth and no home court.Yet, nothing seems to ruffle these Eagles. The undaunted Eagles are flying into the 4A KingCo Conference Tournament as Crest Division champions.

Issaquah enters the 4A KingCo tournament at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17 against Eastlake at Eastlake. Issaquah, 17-3 overall, is nominally the home team for this first-round game because it is the higher seeded team. However, with construction still going on at Issaquah High School, the Eagles have been unable to play on their own home court this season.

Skyline, which also qualified for the league tournament, plays at Crown Division champion Woodinville in the first round.

The league tournament runs through Feb. 26 with the KingCo champion getting an automatic berth to the state tournament.

“It’s a tough tournament,” Issaquah coach Kathy Gibson said. “There are a lot of good teams. Our girls will play hard and give it their best shot. Whoever comes out on top will definitely be tested.”

Issaquah won two crucial games last week en route to capturing the Crest Division title. The Eagles began the week tied with Newport for the lead. However, Issaquah took over the top spot Feb. 10 when it defeated Newport 56-50 at Newport. The Eagles wrapped up the division title Feb. 12 when they outlasted Skyline 62-55 in overtime.

“Skyline and Newport are real good teams,” Gibson said.

One of the keys for Issaquah this season has been its scoring balance. The Eagles don’t always rely on the same player each night to lead their offense. Some nights Maddey Pflaumer has been the top scorer. Other nights it might be Domi Mendezona, Mackenzie Schiltz or Blaire Brady.

“As a coach you are happy with the balance. The kids have a lot of confidence in their abilities. We just try to free the hot hand,” Gibson said.

Against Newport, Pflaumer had the hot hand in the second half. She scored 17 points as the Eagles rallied to beat the Knights.

Newport coach Travis Whitaker definitely thought Pflaumer, a 5-foot-11 junior forward, was the big difference in the game with the Eagles.

“She’s a tough matchup for us. We had a tough time keeping her off the boards,” Whitaker said.

Pflaumer, the Eagles’ leading scorer, wasn’t a big factor in the first half as she picked up two early fouls and played just four minutes of the first half.

With Pflaumer on the bench, Newport built up a 22-19 halftime lead.

Pflaumer returned in the second half and scored 11 of Issaquah’s 19 third-quarter points. A jumper and a free throw by Pflaumer put the Eagles ahead to stay at 25-24. Issaquah led 38-37 at the end of the quarter.

Newport trailed 40-39 with less than six minutes left in the game, but Issaquah hit the boards and ran off 10 straight points to build up a big lead. Mendezona and Aimee Brakken each scored key baskets on putbacks during the Eagles’ run.

Brady contributed eight points, and Brakken and Taryn Holmes each had seven points for the Eagles.

Against Skyline, the Eagles led 22-14 at halftime but the host Spartans fought back in the third quarter to trail by just one point. Skyline caught Issaquah in the fourth quarter and the teams were tied 44-all at the end of regulation. The Eagles pulled away in overtime, outscoring Skyline 18-11.

“In overtime, we didn’t turn the ball over, which was something we did a lot of earlier in the game. We didn’t play with a lot of composure earlier, but we came together in overtime,” Gibson said.

Mendezona led Issaquah with 18 points and Pflaumer added 13. Schiltz contributed 11 points and Brady had eight.

Hailey Smith, of Skyline, topped all players with 19 points. Kassia Fortier had eight.

“Skyline is a good team. They have some talented individuals on that squad. They have some young players who just come out and get after you. Sometimes those are the most dangerous teams,” Gibson said.

The victory against Skyline left Issaquah with a 14-2 league record.

“Even though our girls were undersized, they have worked real hard to compensate for the lack of size. In some games the lack of size has been a bigger factor. But we have weathered all sorts of storms this season,” Gibson said.

Spartans fall to Redmond

Skyline lost to Redmond 47-33 Feb. 10. Redmond pulled away in the fourth quarter, outscoring Skyline 13-7, to break open the contest. Fortier led Skyline with 11 points.

Patriots win finale

The Liberty girls team finished the regular season Feb. 11 with a 53-44 victory against visiting Interlake. The Patriots took command of the 3A/2A KingCo contest in the third quarter, outscoring Interlake 13-6.

Breanne Faehnrich led Liberty with 15 points and Danni Sjolander added 14. Maddie Birdsall contributed nine points for the Patriots, who finished league play at 5-7.

Liberty lost to first-place Mercer Island 53-37 Feb. 9. Birdsall and Sjolander each had seven points.

The Patriots entered the 3A KingCo tournament Feb. 16 in a loser-out game at Mount Si.

Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or bobtaylor@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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