Spartans drop 4A girls league title to the Falcons

February 22, 2011

By Christopher Huber

Skyline High School senior guard Lindsey Nicholson gave the Spartans plenty to cheer about in the first half against the Woodinville Falcons.

By Christopher Huber Skyline’s Megan Weideman goes up for a shot against Woodinville’s Ali Forde during the third quarter of the KingCo 4A championship game Feb. 18.

She hit her first three 3-point shots of the first quarter and a half and at one point helped Skyline get out to an early 18-10 lead.

But Woodinville’s Deidre Miller hit more baskets, and they all counted down the stretch.

By the look of it through three quarters, the 4A KingCo Conference girls basketball title seemed to belong to the Spartans. But Miller’s barrage from beyond the arc aided the Falcons to a 55-47 comeback victory against Skyline for the league championship Feb. 18 at Juanita High School.

Miller, a junior coming off two years on the bench with two consecutive ACL injuries, finished with a game-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers.

“We knew she was there,” Skyline coach Greg Bruns said. “Boy, she knocked down shots.”

Both teams are bound for the state tournament. This year there is a new tournament format with four regionals. The top two teams from each regional advance to the quarterfinals March 3 in the Tacoma Dome. Skyline, 16-8, plays in Region 3 Feb. 25 at Rogers of Puyallup. Woodinville, 19-5 and winners of 11 straight, plays in Region 2 Feb. 25 at Inglemoor.

“I think we came out really prepared,” Nicholson said after the game. “I haven’t shot threes like that in a while.”

Skyline was firing on all cylinders in the first half. The Spartans led 13-8 to end the first quarter and the defense caused all sorts of adversity for the Woodinville offense.

“The Skyline defense was amazing,” Miller said after the game.

Nicholson said ultimately the string of big shots helped motivate the team to finish the first half strong. The Falcons missed handfuls of easy shots and looked like a different team than the one that beat Eastlake to get to the title match.

Bruns added that the Spartans threw in some new strategies the Falcons would not have been ready for.

“We put a couple of different looks the kids hadn’t seen before,” he said.

Skyline led by two at halftime, 22-20.

Nicholson scored 11 of her 13 points in the first half and Skyline seemed to be hitting its stride while stifling Woodinville’s typically lively offense.

From the opening of the third quarter until time expired, the Falcons fed the ball to Miller. Skyline’s defense pressed and forced the ball outside, but Miller consistently found a spot on the right side from 3-point range and drained three after three.

“Good shooters just don’t stop shooting,” Bullock said.

She scored 16 of her 21 points in the second half, leading Woodinville to outscore Skyline 35-25. The Spartans tallied five points in the fourth quarter and then went 0-for-7 from the field in the final five minutes. The Falcons scored 17 in the fourth.

“We just didn’t execute in the fourth,” Bruns said. “It’s about playing and executing when you have to.”

Nicholson wasn’t sure quite what did it to Skyline. Woodinville junior Ali Forde might have had something to do with it. Forde finished the night with 17 rebounds, six steals and 10 points.

“I think we just got tired in the fourth,” Nicholson said. “Our offenses weren’t working. They shut us down.”

Woodinville standout Melissa Gilkey, despite fouling out in the fourth, scored 14 points. Skyline’s Haley Smith, a sophomore wing, scored 12 points and senior post Michelle Bretl had eight points. Junior post Megan Weideman finished with seven points for Skyline.

While Bruns noted the team’s disappointment with losing the title, Skyline is still headed to state after an up-and-down season.

“Everybody believed we could win this season,” he said. “We just need to learn from it.”

Nicholson shared the sentiment heading into the state tournament.

“We’re not done here,” Nicholson said. “It’s not over for us.”

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