The Bishop Blanchet Braves entered the 2017 WIAA 3A Girls State Basketball Tournament with just one loss to their name this season. A determined Lynnwood Royals’ squad came within seconds of giving Blanchet a second defeat, after a late game comeback came up one point short.
The Royals fell to the Braves 58-57 in a 3A girls tourney quarterfinal match-up Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.
With the setback, Lynnwood moves into the consolation bracket of the tournament and will next face the Stanwood Spartans on Friday morning, 9 a.m., at the dome.
The Royals, still with a chance of earning the fourth place trophy at the 3A girls tourney, will have to put aside the emotional letdown of having their 17-game winning streak broken and their championship dream ended Wednesday at the hands of no. 1 seed Bishop Blanchet.
“Our motto all year has been this idea of ‘together we can,’” Lynnwood Coach Brent Hudson said following the loss to the Braves, “and we just talked about the the fact (that) it’s really easy to say ‘together we can’ when we win, ‘together we can’ when things are going right, ‘together we can’ do a lot of things, when things are going our way. And now we have an opportunity to kind of rally around each other.”
“This is a great opportunity for the senior class and the girls that have been around for awhile to finish strong,” Hudson said.
Finishing strong, though not quite with the outcome they had hoped for, is what the Royals did Thursday against the Braves. After being down ten points, 58-48 with 2:46 to go in the game, Lynnwood pulled to within one point, 58-57, after a Kelsey Rogers bucket with 43.3 seconds left.
On their following possession, Blanchet was not able to get a shot to the rim before the 30-second shot clock expired, setting up the Royals’ for one last chance at the lead in what would be their final offensive possession of the game.
“We wanted the ball in Kaprice’s (Boston) hands and we wanted Kelsey at the block and (Bishop Blanchet) had done a great job of just pushing Kelsey out, “ Hudson explained of the last Lynnwood possession. “At that moment it created such a tight passing lane (that) there wasn’t quite the angle and there was just enough commotion, so on that pass (from Boston to Rogers) it was a little tough and they (Bishop Blanchet) got their hands on it.”
The resulting pileup of players resulted in a jump ball and giving the Braves possession with 1.3 seconds to go. Blanchet inbounded the ball with Lynnwood unable to foul or stop the clock and the game was over.
“We didn’t get the shot that we were hoping for obviously,” Hudson concluded.
The first three quarters of the tilt was a tight back-and-forth affair – the teams were tied 44-44 going into the final eight minutes. Then the Braves built their big ten-point fourth quarter lead with a 14-4 run.
“Blanchet’s just tough, obviously they are,” Hudson said. “I thought the fourth quarter was when we were going to make our run, and then they ended up making a run.”
Despite the loss, Hudson was pleased at how his team responded under pressure.
“We’re just proud of the girls for, down ten in the fourth quarter, it’d had been pretty easy for us to just roll over and go away. But the fact that we battled back and got the ball back with a chance to go ahead, I’ll take it,” Hudson stated.
Lynnwood was led by the 25 points of Boston; Rogers scored 17 points in the loss.
The Braves were paced by Jadyn Bush, who had 22 points and 12 rebounds; teammate Annie Maher scored 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for Blanchet.
As a team, Bishop Blanchet outrebounded the Royals 40-25 and had a 16-4 advantage on the offensive boards. The Braves scored 18 points after offensive rebounds; Lynnwood picked up only four second-chance points in the game.
Hudson believes his squad will be able to put Thursday’s loss behind them when they face Stanwood Friday morning. “I think we’ll bounce back,” he said. “I think the girls will finish strong. They seem to be pretty resilient.”
To view the entire WIAA 3A Girls State Basketball Tournament bracket, click www.wiaa.com/Brackets/T1284.pdf.
Prep Girls Basketball: Lynnwood vs. Bishop Blanchet, March 2 (WIAA 3A Girls State Basketball Tournament semifinal game)
Lynnwood 16 12 16 13 — 57
Blanchet 12 12 20 14 — 58
Lynnwood individual scoring: Kaprice Boston 25, Kelsey Rogers 17, Rachel Walsh 6, Reilly Walsh 5, Taylor Fahey 2, Nakia Boston 2, Valerie Bell, Kia Crawford
Bishop Blanchet individual scoring: Jadyn Bush 22, Annie Maher 13, Katie Merrywell 6, Jillese Bush 6, Taylor Chambers 6, Ella DiPietro 5, Maddie O’Neill, Minnie Miller
Records: Lynnwood 21-5 overall; Bishop Blanchet 25-1 overall
Lynnwood next game: versus Stanwood, Friday, March 3, 9 a.m. at the Tacoma Dome (WIAA 3A Girls State Basketball Tournament consolation loser-out game)
–By Doug Petrowski