Puyallup’s girls found a way to overcome their stagnant start, defeating Enumclaw, 40-30, on Wednesday night to advance to the West Central-Southwest Bi-District III tournament.
After a first quarter at Graham-Kapowsin in which both teams in the 4A SPSL-NPSL matchup came out flat, Puyallup found an answer with senior Rachel Allen off the bench.
“I really tried to bring the energy and get my team back in it since we came out flat,” Allen said.
After trailing Enumclaw, 4-1, after the first quarter, Allen (eight points) helped spark the Vikings offense by hauling in offensive rebounds and creating second chances.
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“Coach said after the first that we needed to try and have more energy, and to play as a team and not individually,” said Allen, who finished with seven rebounds, three on the offensive end.
Puyallup (11-10) had a 15-7 scoring edge in the second quarter to lead, 16-11, at intermission.Puyallup outrebounded Enumclaw, 10-4, in the second.
“I told them to stop worrying about the ‘ifs.’ Just see what they could do and that’s what they did,” Puyallup coach Cherokee Ainslie said.
Enumclaw (9-15) tried to fight back in the second half, cutting Puyallup’s lead to four points by the end of the third quarter.
Madison Bosik (seven points) found ways to pressure the Vikings offense, forcing turnovers and giving Enumclaw the lead, 18-17, with 2 minutes, 40 seconds left in the third.
Puyallup regained the lead. But a little over a minute later, with 1:17 left in the third, Bosik nailed a layup and tied it at 20- all.
That was the last time Puyallup allowed consistent scoring from the Hornets.
“I think Enumclaw really worked hard, and they brought it,” said Sophie DeWitt, who led Puyallup with nine points. “I think we recovered more towards the end, and we weren’t playing more individually. We pulled it out and got the win.”
After Enumclaw tied it, Puyallup used an 11-0 run that stretched from the end of the third to about halfway through the fourth (4:51 remaining) to jump out to its largest lead, 31-20.
The Hornets went on a 10-4 run that ended with 1:06 left. However, Puyallup’s Ava Edwards (six points) and DeWitt picked off back-to-back inbound passes from the Hornets and the Vikings gained a 38-30 advantage with 30.1 seconds remaining.
Puyallup will have to play on consecutive days due to the snow cancellations.
“The nice thing is it kind of gets you ready for what state is like. You have to play back-to-back games,” said Ainslie. “It sucks a little bit because the snow day doesn’t let you rest a little bit, but you never know what’s going to come.”
Puyallup will play NPSL’s Kentlake in the first round of the district tournament at 7 p.m. Thursday. Enumclaw was eliminated with the loss.