The Sumner High School girls basketball team racked up 14 consecutive wins, going the entire month of January without a loss, and claimed the 2A South Puget Sound League regular-season title.
It’s little wonder Lake Washington’s Sydney Shepard considered her team’s 51-44 regional playoff victory over the Spartans an upset.
“I think we came in and people thought we were going to lose,” Shepard said. “We just proved that our league (KingCo) is strong, and we can compete with (anyone).”
With Friday’s win at Puyallup High School, Lake Washington booked a berth in the Yakima Valley SunDome’s round of eight next week.
Meanwhile, Sumner’s season ends in the regional round for the second consecutive year. The Spartans fell to Renton, 42-40, last year.
Jamie Lange led Sumner (23-4) with 13 points and 14 rebounds. But the Kangaroos beat the Spartans with a balanced attack: Carly Rataushk had 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, while Shepard and Hanna Brender each had 12 points.
After those 14 consecutive victories, Sumner lost three of its last five games to end the season.
“We’re a good team that’s played in a tough league,” Lake Washington coach Cory Shepard said.
The Kangs (13-12) attacked Sumner with the pick-and-roll — early and often.
Sydney Shepard would attack from the top of the key, weaving through the Sumner defense on her way to the basket.
“I just tried to always look and find the open player down low,” said Shepard, who finished with seven assists, seven rebounds and five steals.
“We didn’t defend the pick-and-roll at all,” Sumner coach Shane Patrick said. “(Shepard) has a high basketball IQ, and it showed.”
Shepard’s late layup stretched the Kangs’ lead to 46-36 with two minutes left.
The game was put out of reach when Lake Washington’s Lizzie Giovacchini nailed a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left. The Kangs are making their first state tournament appearance since 2000.