Woodinville bottles up Eagles’ top scorers
February 18, 2014
By Neil Pierson
It was a simple but effective formula that wound up being the difference in Woodinville’s victory over Issaquah in a Feb. 12 girls basketball playoff game.
Senior guards Mandie Hill and Mackenzie Wieburg supply the bulk of Issaquah’s offense, and visiting Woodinville was able to collar them for the vast majority of the teams’ first-round clash in the Class 4A KingCo Conference tournament.
The Eagles rallied to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, but the Falcons scored the final six points and forced some crucial turnovers to win, 55-49.
Issaquah coach Bob Richey said Woodinville’s defensive pressure stymied his star players. Hill averaged 18.9 points per game during the regular season, but was held to 12, and Wieburg, who averaged 13.7 points, scored only five.
“The scouting report, it’s not rocket science,” Richey said. “You’re going to try to take the top scorer out of the game whoever you play.”
For much of the game, Hill and Wieburg were able to get their teammates involved in the offense. Issaquah sank nine 3-pointers — seven of them in the first half — and most of them came from supporting players like Sophie Foreman, Jozie Crisafulli and Sarah Hiegel.
A Hiegel 3-pointer tied the game at 49 with about three minutes to play, but they were the Eagles’ final points.
The Falcons picked up a pair of offensive rebounds with about one minute left, resulting in a Mackenzie Campbell basket. With a four-point deficit, the Eagles tried to score quickly, but Crisafulli was surrounded on her drive into the paint and turned the ball over.
The play was indicative of the game’s hard-fought nature.
“The reality is that it’s an intense game, both teams going at each other defensively,” Richey said, “so it really comes down to who’s going to take care of the ball at the end of the game.
“And you’ve got to give credit to Woodinville — I thought they did a really nice job running their offense late in the game. Our kids played great defensively, but they really spread us out and they made a little bit better decisions late in the game.”
Issaquah (13-8 overall) started the game hot, with Foreman burying two 3-pointers to forge an 11-4 lead for the Eagles.
But Woodinville (13-7) caught fire in the second quarter as five players combined to score 20 points. The quarter featured eight lead changes, and the Falcons’ 9-0 spurt allowed them to take a 31-28 lead to halftime.
Issaquah’s defense buckled down in the third period, limiting Woodinville to 10 points, but the Eagles were unable to pull away on offense. Crisafulli scored six straight points for her team, and Wieburg made her first field goal of the game with 2:26 to go in the third for a 36-34 Issaquah lead.
Woodinville’s Erin Hamilton scored 10 of her game-high 14 points in the second half, and Campbell chipped in with 12. Hill was Issaquah’s only double-digit scorer, although Foreman and Crisafulli scored nine points each and Nicole Victory added eight.
Richey indicated he wasn’t disappointed in Hill’s performance, as she ran the offense much of the game and found openings for her teammates.
“Mandie did a good job of finding other people and helped us in a lot of other ways that probably will never show up in the box score,” Richey said.
Likewise for Wieburg, who was forced to the bench with three first-half fouls, but had several key rebounds, steals and hustle plays in the second half to keep the Eagles close.
“That’s the kind of stuff that I love, and we’ll win games because of it,” Richey said.
The teams had played only two weeks earlier at Issaquah, and Woodinville won handily, 72-51, behind four double-digit scorers. The rematch was much more even, largely because the Eagles had better ball security and committed fewer “silly mistakes,” Richey said.
“I thought the kids did a great job — a bounce of the ball here and a bounce of the ball there, and the game flip-flops the other way,” he said. “That’s the way it goes. That’s basketball.”
The Eagles survived a loser-out game Feb. 15, beating Skyline, 53-46, at Juanita High School in Kirkland. They faced Eastlake, a team they beat in the regular season, after press time Feb. 18. The winner of that game is scheduled to play the Bothell-Woodinville winner at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at Juanita.