Going into their WIAA 3A Girls State Basketball Tournament opener on Friday, the Meadowdale Mavericks were ready to see just how they would stack up against the tourney’s top-seeded team, the Garfield Bulldogs.
What they learned is that it will take a full game effort to take down the top dogs.
The Mavs started strong but stumbled in the second quarter. They weren’t able to mount a serious comeback and ultimately fell to Garfield 62-48 in a state tourney regional-round matchup played at Bellevue College.
Meadowdale junior Gia Powell scored 31 points in the game — 13 in the first quarter — but the rest of the roster could only muster 17 total points on a night when the Bulldogs’ tenacious defense ruled.
After finishing the first quarter with a 17-15 advantage, the Mavericks shot just 11.1% from the field (1 for 9) in the second quarter. Garfield led 32-22 at halftime and was never challenged for the lead in the second half.
After Powell’s first-quarter outburst, the Bulldogs ramped up their defensive pressure on the Mavs’ leading scorer.
“I think they started face-guarding me and just decided I can’t get the ball,” Powell said. “I just had to cut and work harder to get open and get my shots.”
Powell scored just four second-quarter points and tallied the Mavs’ only field goal of the quarter on a drive to the hoop with 3.33 to go before the halftime break. The Mavericks were outscored 17-5 in the quarter.
The Bulldogs were led by the 21 points of Rakiyah Jackson; Kato Fiso scored 14 points while Sarah Lessig added 12 points. Garfield played without guard Malia Samuels, who many consider the top prep girls’ player in the state; Samuels suffered a torn ACL injury last July and is missing her entire senior year of Bulldogs’ basketball.
Garfield is the two-time defending 3A girls basketball state champion and is a favorite to repeat once again.
The loss to the Bulldogs doesn’t stop No. 8-seeded Meadowdale from advancing in the 3A state tournament to play in the Tacoma Dome next week. But it does send the team into a loser-out game against either No. 9 seed Bonney Lake or No. 16 seed Kennewick on Wednesday, March 1. Neither does Friday’s loss prevent the Mavericks from advancing to a Saturday night Tacoma Dome state championship game where, in theory, they could matchup against Garfield again — a path that Powell would love to see her Mavs’ travel.
“I hope to see Garfield again,” Powell said. “I don’t think together we played our best game and I think if everybody’s on, then that’s our game.”
The Mavericks’ round-of-12, loser-out game on Wednesday will be the first trip to the Tacoma Dome for the Meadowdale girls’ basketball program since 2009. Powell is excited about the trip and playing under the bright lights of the dome.
“I’m looking forward to winning our first game — and (then) continue winning,” she said.
To view the entire WIAA 3A Girls State Basketball Tournament bracket, click www.wpanetwork.com/wiaa/brackets/tournament.php?act=view&tournament_id=3796.
Prep Girls Basketball: Meadowdale vs. Garfield, Feb. 24 (WIAA 3A Girls State Basketball Tournament regional-round game)
Meadowdale 17 5 10 16 – 48
Garfield 15 17 16 14 – 62
Meadowdale individual scoring: Gia Powell 31, Audrey Lucas 7, Kaiya Dotter 6, Payton Fleishman 2, Samantha Medina 2, Jordan Leith, Ava Powell, Natalie Durbin, Mackenzie Tindall
Garfield individual scoring: Rakiyah Jackson 21, Katie Fiso 14, Sarah Lessig 12, Imbie Jones 7, Jayda Lewis 4, Navaeh Talbert 4, Kahmiya Bryant
Records: Meadowdale 18-7 overall; Garfield 20-1 overallMeadowdale next game: versus winner of Bonney Lake – Kennewick regional round game; Wednesday, March 1; 2 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome (WIAA Girls 3A Basketball Tournament round-of-12, loser-out game)
— By Doug Petrowski
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