It was as if the Wilson High School girls woke up Saturday morning and wanted to bring their leftover hurricane of emotion to the Class 3A state basketball tournament.
Coach Michelle Birge was fiery – fueled by a mixture of lack of sleep Friday night, and stewing about the officiating she thought cost her team a shot at the state title on a controversial decision that led to an overtime semifinal loss to Seattle Prep.
Her players ran the gamut of emotion following the loss but looked spry and refocused Saturday in easily dispatching Bellevue, 51-30, to give Wilson a third-place finish – best in team history.
“Bent,” Birge quietly said about the 36-33 loss, “but not broken today.”
To recap: The Rams had a final shot to tie the game at the end of regulation Friday night. And standout guard Bethany Montgomery thought she made a last-second 3-pointer to do so – only to have it ruled a long two-point basket instead.
Upset, Montgomery took off her shirt and heaved it toward the bench – twice – and that was enough for Birge to sit her senior for much of the first half Saturday, until the other 11 players saw playing time.
“She made a mistake,” Birge said.
Friday night was a long one for Birge. She went up to her bedroom to try to break down film on Bellevue while her husband, Michael, and daughter stayed away.
“They knew I needed my space,” Birge said. “The cat consoled me.”
For a moment, Mountlake Terrace boys coach Nalin Sood gave a fleeting thought about one of the important things at stake for his team’s matchup Saturday against traditional Metro League powerhouse Seattle Prep for fourth place.
A win meant that Seattle’s top city league would not claim the top four trophies of the 3A tournament.
“I have a lot of respect for the Metro League,” Sood said. “They are battle-tested.
“They’re like the SEC in football – coming out and doing well in the postseason.”
Sood’s Hawks managed to break up the Metro’s run with a 54-43 win over the Panthers. But that didn’t diminish the city league’s accomplishments.
The Rainier Beach-Lakeside boys final and Cleveland-Seattle Prep girls championship Saturday marked the first time since 1989 that both 3A title games were all-Metro League affairs.
Seattle Prep boys coach Mike Kelly pinpointed two reasons behind the quality of his league – across the board, the players are talented, and the collective coaching experience is unmatched.
“There is a culture here and that feeds on each other,” Kelly said.
PASSING THE TORCH
After the Lincoln boys won their 3A third-place game over Franklin, senior forward Tre’Shaun Fletcher said his career had run its course, and that he was excited to hand over the keys to the program to guard Ahmaad Rorie, who will be a senior.
“I’m excited to see what he does,” Fletcher said. “That’s my guy.”
Added Rorie: “In my eyes, I’ve got to be the best leader, best scorer and best passer – and play like a leader.”
The academic state champions in basketball included the Mead (4A) and Stanwood (3A) boys and the Wenatchee (4A) and Auburn Mountainview (3A) girls.Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/preps @ManyHatsMilles