Prep girls basketball: Close victory for the Royals sends them to 4th/6th contest Saturday

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Lynnwood Royal Kaprice Boston usually knows only one way to play basketball: all-out, assertive, no-holds-barred. On Friday, she had to show another side of her on-court abilities.

After picking up her fourth foul early in the fourth quarter of their loser-out consolation bracket game Friday morning at the Tacoma Dome, Boston had to back off to avoid a fifth foul and disqualification from further action. Her newfound passiveness got her to the final buzzer.

But in the final seconds of the game, Boston threw all caution to the wind and went back to her assertive nature on the court – and it paid off for her and the Royals.

With seconds remaining and the ball in her hands, Boston drove straight to the Lynnwood hoop and made a lay-in as time expired to give the Royals a 62-60 victory over the Stanwood Spartans in a WIAA 3A Girls State Basketball Tournament consolation bracket loser-out game played Friday morning at the Tacoma Dome.

Lynnwood will now close out their run at the 2017 Hardwood Classic with a 4th place/6th place match-up against Kamiakin Saturday morning at 8 a.m. at the dome.

Boston’s heroics on Friday were set up after teammate Kelsey Rogers sunk one of two free throw attempts to knot the Royals and Spartans up 60-60 with 51.2 seconds remaining. After a pair of Stanwood turnovers, Lynnwood took over possession of the ball with 14.9 seconds to go, and the stage was set for Boston.

“That was probably the biggest shot I’ve ever taken,” Boston said after her game-winner. “I’m in shock. I don’t know what to say. I still don’t believe that just happened. And the fact that it was to win the game, I’m at a loss for words.”

Boston scored 22 points in the game, but it was the final two points that were most memorable.

“I remember Val (teammate Valerie Bell) passing me the ball and then everybody counting down,” Boston recalled. “I was like, okay, I just got to go to the basket. So I just took one dribble, did a Euro (an offensive move to avoid defenders), and then my eyes were closed when I shot it. Then I looked up right when I was underneath the net and the ball went it.”

“I turned around and everybody started screaming,” she continued. “I was like, ‘it went in.’”

Boston wasn’t totally convinced at the moment of her shot attempt that it would find the hoop.

“Personally I thought I bricked it, so that’s why I kind of closed my eyes,” she said. “Thank God I opened them (to see it) going in.”

After Boston’s shot fell, the senior was mobbed by her Royal teammates in celebration.

Boston had to play the final 5:31 of the game with four fouls, a stretch of play that she called frightening.

“That’s terrifying,” Boston said. “I was so scared that I was going to foul out. My coach (Brent Hudson) was telling me not to be aggressive, but I’m a very aggressive person. So it was kind of hard.”

Hudson was pleased at how Boston handled the distress she had been feeling after picking up her fourth foul.

“I think the biggest thing for Kaprice was she had to overcome a lot of adversity in some ways,” Hudson said. “She wasn’t getting some of the calls that she thought maybe she should get, or that we thought she should get. She got called for a couple fouls that were legitimate calls, and then some other ones that were questionable. That’s always going to happen. But she fought through and she stayed in the game and she kept her head in it.”

“She was really stressed for a little bit there at the beginning of the fourth (quarter). But we just talked and said, hey, you’ve got to keep your mind in it,” he added.

In addition to Boston’s game-winner at the final buzzer, Hudson also noted the play of Rogers – who had 23 points to lead the Royals – as a key to the team’s victory.

“Kelsey’s just exhausted from yesterday,” Hudson explained. The Royals suffered a one-point loss to tournament no. 1-seed Bishop Blanchet on Thursday. “We put so many minutes on her legs yesterday and then we asked her to come back again today. There were times when she was just fatigued. There were times that she almost fell over trying to get post up position.”

“But we just challenged the girls, ‘you’ve got to dig deep, you’ve got to find it. We want to play tomorrow (Saturday) and so whatever you’ve got left in the tank, you’ve got to find it one more time,’” Hudson said.

For most of the contest, Stanwood looked like the team with more spirit and strength. The Spartans, the tourney’s no. 5 seed, opened the game on a 9-2 run, then put together an 11-2 run late in the third quarter.

Stanwood also held the lead for almost 28 of the game’s 32 minutes.

Jillian Heichel led the Spartans with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Teammates Ashley Alter and Kaitlin Larson added 11 and 10 points respectively in the loss.

Stanwood ended their 2016-2017 season with an overall record of 20-6; three of their six losses this season were to Lynnwood.

The Royals will face a Kamiakin Braves team on Saturday that has just two losses this year, a two-point defeat to 4A state semifinalist Moses Lake and a nine-point loss to 3A state semifinalist Mercer Island.

To view the entire WIAA 3A Girls State Basketball Tournament bracket, click www.wiaa.com/Brackets/T1284.pdf.

Prep Girls Basketball: Stanwood vs. Lynnwood, Mar. 3 (WIAA 3A Girls State Basketball Tournament consolation bracket loser-out game)

Stanwood    17    15    18    10    —    60
Lynnwood    15    13    16    18    —    62

Lynnwood individual scoring: Kelsey Rogers 23, Kaprice Boston 22, Reilly Walsh 12, Valerie Bell 5, Taylor Fahey, Rachel Walsh, Nakia Boston, Amayah Kirkman, Kia Crawford, Abby Douglas

Records: Lynnwood 22-5; Stanwood 20-6 overall

Lynnwood next game: versus Kamiakin, Saturday, March 4, 8 a.m. at the Tacoma Dome (WIAA 3A Girls State Basketball Tournament 4th/6th place game)

–By Doug Petrowski

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