Watching the Puyallup High School girls team run up and down the basketball court in the first half Tuesday, you’d think the Vikings were late for a meeting.
“What, quick?” Vikings coach Cherokee Ainslie said. “We like to push the ball up, but sometimes we get into the chaos.”
Puyallup did its best work when it settled down, finally pulling away for a 63-50 victory over run-you-ragged Auburn Riverside in a Class 4A West Central District loser-out basketball game at Stadium High School.
Marissa Miller scored 18 points, and Addison Picha added 16 for the Vikings (17-6), who move on to face Tahoma for a spot in the regional tournament. Auburn Riverside saw its season end with the loss.
The Vikings scored on three of their first four possessions to start the second half, capped by Sarah Steimle’s 3-pointer, to grab a 37-27 lead at the 6-minute, 37-second mark.
With the pace under control, now all the SPSL South runners-up had to worry about was the Ravens’ 3-point shooting ability — which, when on, can shrink any opponent’s lead in a hurry.
Auburn Riverside canned three of them in 56 seconds, and suddenly it was a 39-38 Puyallup lead with 5:03 remaining in the third quarter.
“They were killing us,” Picha said. “We knew if we could shut down the 3-pointers, we would shut them down. That is when we really stopped them.”
And that is exactly what Ainslie reminded them of in the timeout huddle.
“We just said, ‘Refocus, calm back down ... and get a hand in their face,’ ” Ainslie said.
Auburn Riverside never got hot again, going 61/2 minutes and well into the fourth quarter without a field goal.
Puyallup put it out of reach by going 12-for-12 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, making all 10 attempts in the final 1:28.
Tahoma 47, Camas 41: The Bears (14-11) built a big first-half lead on five 3-pointers, including three in the first quarter by Kaelan Shamseldin, eliminating the Papermakers at Stadium High School.
Tahoma took its biggest lead, 29-17, on Chardonae Miller’s putback of her own missed shot with two seconds remaining in the first half.
Camas (14-10) cut the deficit to 46-40 in the final two minutes behind the play of Brenna Khaw (game-high 18 points), and could have gotten closer had Nikki Corbett made any of her four free-throw attempts.
Miller finished with six points, 14 rebounds and six assists. Shamseldin and Brianna Aldridge led the Bears with 14 points apiece.
Kentwood 49, Emerald Ridge 46: The Conquerors (17-6) erased a deficit by going on a 7-0 run early in the fourth quarter, and they survived a loser-out game at Puyallup High School.
Sarah Toeaina scored 20 points to lead Kentwood. Riley Clarke led all scorers with 22 for the Jaguars.Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org