Bellevue High School girls basketball coach Leah Krautter experienced one of the greatest joys in life — the birth of her first child — on Thursday afternoon.
Still recovering in the hospital with her baby boy, her team then went out and gave her another gift, a Class 3A state quarterfinal win, 66-58 over Sunnyside, on Thursday evening at the Tacoma Dome.
“We got some (baby) pictures (via text message) before the game,” said assistant coach Noah Wulbert, who is running the team in Krautter’s absence. “(Krautter’s) desperate to come here.”
After jumping out to a 30-23 halftime lead, Bellevue (22-6) let the Grizzlies creep back in. Sunnyside cut the deficit to 59-57 on Jordan Rodriguez’s offensive rebound and putback with 1 minute, 43 seconds left. After Bellevue’s Katie Holmes converted split a pair of free throws with 1:35 left, Sunnyside missed a 3-pointer at the other end and the Wolverines corralled the rebound, eventually icing the game at the free throw line.
Junior sharpshooter Mandy Steward burned the Grizzlies for 32 points, connecting on 5 of 7 shots from 3-point range, and Bellevue shot a sizzling 68 percent (7 of 11) as a team. Sophomore forward Shelby Cansler added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolverines, who will take on Cleveland at 7:15 p.m. Friday in the state 3A semifinals.
Sunnyside (21-4), which saw its 11-game winning streak come to an end, shot just 18 percent (3 of 16) from 3-point range in the game, and got outrebounded, 45-32.
Rodriguez finished with a team-high 15 points.