Eagles win latest bout of Crest contenders, 62-48

January 31, 2012

By Bob Taylor

Caleigh McCabe (right), Eastlake High School senior guard, looks for an open teammate under the basket as Issaquah’s Quincey Gibson (left) and Ali Mendezona defend during the second quarter. By Greg Farrar

Like a lot of automobile engines during the winter, the Issaquah High School girls basketball team had problems getting started in its games earlier this season.

But that has not been the case of late. Issaquah jumped ahead of three opponents early in its games last week as the Eagles posted three victories.

On Jan. 28, Issaquah routed visiting Roosevelt, 62-37, for the Eagles’ sixth straight victory. With the win, Issaquah went to 8-3 in KingCo Conference 4A play and into a tie with Skyline for first place in the Crest Division. Issaquah played at Skyline Jan. 31. The Eagles host Ballard at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 2 and conclude their regular season at 1 p.m. Feb. 4 at Newport.

In the Roosevelt game, the Eagles sprinted to a 16-4 first-quarter lead and steadily pulled away for the victory. Sabrina Norton, who recently became eligible, scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Eagles.

“It’s nice to have her back,” Issaquah coach Kathy Gibson said. “Her rebound and scoring makes a real presence in the paint for us.”

Guard Quincey Gibson, daughter of the Issaquah coach, and Mackenzie Wieburg each had 10 points. Mandie Hill, Issaquah’s leading scorer on the season, had just three points.

“With this team it has often been a different person leading us in scoring in a game,” Kathy Gibson said. “The important thing is that we play as a team and play defense.”

In the Eagles’ biggest game of the week, Issaquah defeated visiting Eastlake, 62-48, Jan. 27 in a battle of Crest Division contenders.

In the first meeting between Eastlake and Issaquah on Dec. 16, the Wolves emerged with a 73-67 victory in overtime.

Gibson knew she had to make some adjustments for the rematch.

The key was just how well her team would adapt to those changes. The Eagles apparently adapted quite well.

The second meeting was an intense battle in the first half with the teams deadlocked at 25-all at halftime.

But Issaquah broke loose in the third quarter, outscoring Eastlake 21-6 to take a big lead the Eagles never relinquished.

Hill, a sophomore point guard, led all players with 21 points. Norton added 13 points and Wieburg chipped in 12.

“We made some adjustments for the game and the team did a good job of adapting to them,” Gibson said.

The Eagles’ also relied on their usual strength — defense.

“Our key to the game was our ability to focus on playing defense, which is always our emphasis,” Gibson said.

Issaquah’s defensive play limited the Wolves to just one player in double figures — Kendra Morrison. The 6-foot-1 senior scored 13 points. Caleigh McCabe, who played a big role in the first game, was held to five points.

On Jan. 24, Hill scored a game-high 20 points and Monica Landdeck contributed 11 points as the Eagles raced by visiting Redmond, 68-42.

Norton and Wieburg each added eight points for the Eagles.

One of the keys for Issaquah in all three games was getting off to a hot start.

“Early in the season, our first halves were not very stellar,” Gibson said. “Last week, we got off to better starts. If we keep this up, and continue to play strong defense, I like our chances.”

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

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