Girls state tournament notebook: Bellevue coach misses game for special delivery

Staff writerMarch 6, 2014 

Past due date, and experiencing labor pains, Leah Krautter knew the time had finally come.

First, put ‘Plan A’ fully into motion.

Secondly, hand over the keys to the Bellevue High School girls basketball team.

So when the Wolverines took the court Thursday for their Class 3A quarterfinal game against Sunnyside – they won, 66-58 – it was assistant Noah Wulbert’s first head-coaching victory.

“I’ve done this a long time,” said Wulbert, who has been at Bellevue for seven seasons, and coached the junior varsity. “It was different just because it was my first game at state. It was fun and jittery beforehand, but once we tipped it off, it was a basketball game.”

For much of the season, Krautter and Wulbert shared coaching responsibilities in anticipation of her Feb. 24 due date.

“We kind of had the plan all along that she was probably going to miss a regional game, or the state games,” Wulbert said.

Krautter was at two of the team’s practices this week. On Wednesday, she felt labor pains and knew she was close to giving birth – which she did shortly after noon Thursday to Emmett Payne Krautter at Evergreen Hospital Medical Center in Kirkland.

NO MORE PUNISHMENT

As much as she couldn’t avoid her, Mount Rainier’s Brittany McPhee is relieved she won’t have to guard Inglemoor’s Deja Strother in the post anymore.

You see, the 6-foot McPhee was stuck many times Thursday alone defending Strother, a bruising 6-4 post, in the Rams’ 64-57 quarterfinal victory.

Strother likely outweighs McPhee by at least 60 pounds, and usually steamrolls over whoever stands in her path.

At one point in the first quarter, Strother caught a pass deep in the paint and knocked McPhee down on her way to the basket. McPhee crashed hard to the floor, her head bent backward – and she was called for a foul.

“It’s definitely difficult,” McPhee said. “Obviously she has a huge height advantage.”

Both were members of The News Tribune’s all-state team for 2013-14. Strother finished 24 points and 18 rebounds; McPhee had 19 points and eight rebounds.

“Well she is going to (the University of Washington) and I am going to Stanford,” McPhee said. “Hopefully I won’t have to guard her again.”

AWE-STRUCK BY THE MOMENT

First-year Lincoln girls coach Jamila Jones spent six seasons on Aubrey Shelton’s staff for the Abes’ boys when they made four trips to the Tacoma Dome.

Jones admits it is different bringing girls into this atmosphere over boys.

“With the girls, everything is excitable,” Jones said. “The boys are like, ‘Let’s play, and I’ll give you excitement.’”

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442
Todd.milles@thenewstribune.com

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