EATONVILLE — Bryan Peterson presented the whole deal truthfully – and in its entirety.
A trip to Eatonville is not just any road game. Peterson told his Cascade Christian girls basketball team that earning a victory in Cruisers country would be a heck of an accomplishment.
The No. 2 Cougars did just that, recovering from a brief fourth-quarter deficit to beat 10th-ranked Eatonville, 49-43, on Tuesday.
The win puts the Cougars (13-0 overall, 9-0 1A Nisqually) in the driver’s seat for their third consecutive league title – and first outright. They have shared it with Seattle Christian the past two seasons.
And the bonus for winning the Nisqually 1A is
earning an automatic berth to the regional tournament.
The Cruisers were a difficult hurdle to clear. Peterson and his staff knew it, too, so they ventured out to watch Eatonville on Friday, largely to get a feel for the overall environment.
“We saw the raucous (marching) band. They were loud and having fun,” Peterson said. “I sold it as a road trip to a hostile environment and knew we’d find out what we were made of.”
The Cruisers (10-3, 7-3) wiped out a six-point deficit late in the third quarter to take a 40-39 lead on Kayley Bass’ free throw with 3 minutes, 34 seconds to go.
Kaycee Creech, a senior forward, came up big for Cascade Christian. She scored a game-high 30 points, making four 3-pointers. Her steal and basket restored the Cougars’ lead, 41-40.
Eatonville tied it at 43 on Kaelyn Voss’ three free throws with 2:04 remaining, but Creech answered with a spin move in the lane, banking in a 6-footer to give the Cougars the lead for good on their next possession.
“This was great. I loved the dim lighting in the gym. Big crowds get your energy going,” Creech said. “And at the end of it, we knew we had to stay composed. If we did that, we’d win the game.”
The Cruisers went scoreless the final 2:04, and sent Cascade Christian to the free-throw line 15 times in the fourth quarter (the Cougars made seven of the shots).
“A team like that, you know they are not going to back down,” Eatonville coach Davina Serdahl said. “And they slapped on that (fullcourt) press, and it kind of startled us.
“In a tight game, we’ve got to know how to respond.”Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/preps @ManyHatsMilles