Once the Wilson High Rams passed the big test, they took their shot at the postgame pop quiz.
When was the last time a Wilson girls basketball team played in the state tournament in the Tacoma Dome?
Coach Michelle Birge has the most history. She even played against some of those tough Rams teams in the 1990s while at Foss High School.
“Historically?” she said out loud. “I cannot tell you.”
Up next, guard Bethany Montgomery — who at least knew the last decade the Rams were in the big dance.
“It’s been since the 1990s,” Montgomery said, “with the fab five.”
Leave it to the honors student with the 3.7 grade-point average to know the pop quiz was a trick question.
“I don’t think we’ve ever played in the Tacoma Dome,” center Tia Briggs said.
Nope, the last time the Rams were in the state championships, it was 1994 — in Seattle Center Arena.
After their 56-26 Class 3A regional victory over up-and-coming Bonney Lake at Mount Tahoma High School on Friday
night, the fourth-ranked Rams will be making their first state trip to the Dome — starting with a Class 3A quarterfinal game Thursday.
“They have a chance to write their legacy on the gymnasium wall,” Birge said. “This is a very talented team. The expectation is to win state — period.”
Wilson jumped out to a 13-2 lead in the first 51/2 minutes Friday, then just grinded out bigger leads behind its pressure defense. The Panthers cut it to 26-16 at the end of the first half, mainly behind standout Makenzie Voellger, who scored 15 points.
“I felt we could do a pretty good job defensively,” Bonney Lake coach Thomas Ostrander said. “But I knew we’d struggle to score points against their athleticism. Their length and speed obviously affected us.”
Montgomery capped a 7-1 run to start the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers — the second coming 5 feet behind the 3-point arc — to push the Rams’ lead to 33-17. Bonney Lake had just one second-half field goal.
Montgomery led Wilson with 16 points. Briggs added 13, and Violet Morrow was very effective inside, scoring nine points.
Bellevue 58, Prairie 51: Shockingly, the defending Class 3A state champion and top-ranked Falcons will not be returning to the Tacoma Dome after a 15-year state run.
After trailing 47-37 with 5:43 to go, the No. 3 Wolverines blew the doors down, going on a 17-0 run over the next 41/2 minutes to seize control of a back-and-forth game.
After Megan Lindsley’s 3-pointer gave Prairie that 10-point lead, the 3A Greater St. Helens League champions missed their next eight field goal attempts and committed four turnovers.
Battling foul trouble, Bellevue’s Mandy Steward returned to tally half of her game-high 20 points during the scoring spurt.
“When she decides to take over, she can do that,” Bellevue coach Leah Krautter said.
The matchup of these top-three teams was set up when the Wolverines lost to Seattle Prep in the Sea-King District tournament semifinals and Prairie was taken down in the West Central District title game by Wilson.
“You could see it in their faces — they were upset with the draw,” Krautter said. “But that (Prairie-Wilson) game was the difference because the girls thought Prairie was beatable.”Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/preps @ManyHatsMilles