In her first trip to the state playoffs, ninth grader Josie Matz wasn’t exactly having an enjoyable experience on the hardwood for the first 2 1/2 quarters for the 3A Narrows League champions.
“Obviously she was trying to get herself comfortable,” Wilson coach Michelle Birge said.
But as soon as the Islanders crept closer, the Rams’ point guard got feistier – and finished with a game-high 25 points, most of it coming in the final 12 minutes, as Wilson finished off Mercer Island, 58-33, in the quarterfinals of the state basketball tourament.
After Jessica Blakeslee’s 3-pointer for Mercer Island cut the Rams’ lead to 24-21 just 4:01 into the second half, Matz settled the score once and for all, sending Wilson to back-to-back 3A semifinal berths.
She went on her own personal 10-0 run over a 2:23 span to push the Wilson (20-5) lead back to double digits, and the Islanders (16-11) were never heard from again.
It started with a jumper (3:39 mark), continued with a straightaway 3-pointer (3:06 mark) and then was highlighted by a daredevil drive down the right side where she converted a tough 6-foot baseline shot (2:20 mark).
She finished it off with a turnaround one-handed 8-foot shot, giving the Rams a 34-21 advantage with 1:16 remaining in the third quarter.
“In the third quarter, I had to let the game come to me,” Matz said.
Wilson finished with 63 rebounds (Violet Morrow had 18 of them) – 27 coming on the offensive end. That led to 21 second-chance points for the Rams.