The Eastlake Lady Wolves defeated the Bothell Cougars Friday, 50-36, advancing to the final of the 4A KingCo tournament.
With both teams anxious and ready to play, the action began immediately when a quick steal by the Cougars to start the game set up McKylee Hawkins for an early three-pointer. Not to be outdone, a rebound by Eastlake’s Ava Schmidt resulted in an equal addition to the Eastlake score. Aggressive play through the quarter, from both sides, kept Eastlake and Bothell neck-and-neck, challenging the Lady Wolves’ to eke out a slight lead, 11-10, by the end of the first quarter.
Reconfiguring their strategy during the short break between quarters, the Lady Wolves realized they needed to pick up their pace if they were going to bring it home and added a series of two and three-point baskets to the board. Meanwhile the Cougars, seemingly flustered, failed to take advantage of several free throw opportunities, allowing the gap to widen. Eastlake gained 12 points, while the Cougars hit a rut, managing a mere four-point addition in the second quarter. With a halftime advantage of 23-14, the Lady Wolves had a comfortable lead.
Early in the third quarter, two free throws on an Eastlake foul gave Charlotte Lipkin and the Cougars a bit of a boost, bringing back some of their first quarter vitality. However, with the unbeatable pairing of Krista Kostoff and Darcy McCoy for the Lady Wolves adding to the unbalanced point tally, the Cougar burst was short-lived. Bothell struggled to get in range of the basket, and the divide became a schism at 38-20.
Determined to get back into the game, Cougar Zia Anderson did not waste any time in the lead-in to the fourth quarter and immediately dropped a two-point shot in the opening seconds of the final quarter. Her teammates, following her lead, executed aggressive full-court presses in an attempt to catch the Lady Wolves. An assist from Sofia Aluas to McCoy gave possession and momentum back to Eastlake, extinguishing any fire Bothell attempted to build. The Lady Wolves dominated in three of four quarters as Schmidt, the KingCo 4A player of the year, delivered for Eastlake again and again with a total of 22 points for the night and a decisive post-season victory of 50-36.
The Lady Wolves continued their play in the KingCo championship game on Feb. 4, but lost to Woodinville 52-42.