Tacoma Baptist girls basketball team needed almost all of its 16-point lead it established in the first quarter in their 1B state tournament consolation game against Neah Bay on Friday.
And they needed some clutch free throws, too.
The Crusaders prevailed, 60-58, thanks to Brooklyn Pascua and Rachel Vanliew. Pascua scored a game-high 26 points and went 13 of 14 from the free-throw line while Rachel Vanliew made 11 of 12 free throws and posted 17 points.
“I was just sending a prayer up that those went in,” Pascua said. “It’s repetition after repetition trying to shoot the free throws, they all came in tonight.”
Tacoma Baptist advances to the fourth-sixth place game, and will play No. 2 Oakesdale at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Tacoma Baptist hopped out to a 21-5 lead after one quarter, which Neah Bay gradually cut into.
The Crusaders led by double-digits through much of the third quarter. In the fourth, Neah Bay, thanks to back-to-back buckets from Cheyanna Svec — first a transition layup, then a corner 3-pointer — closed to within two with just over four minutes to play.
“We knew the game was far from over,” Tacoma Baptist coach Beth Wing said. “It was a great start for us, defense is definitely how we’ve gotten where we’ve gotten. I’m just so proud of them at the end, they were able to do the little things we needed to do at the end.”
Pascua’s turnaround baseline jumper gave the Crusaders a three-point cushion with just over two minutes to play, and her key free throws down the stretch helped Tacoma Baptist hold on to win.
“She’s clutch,” Wing said. “She’s just one of those kids who is going to give you everything that she has and when it’s at the end of the game she’s going to make really smart choices, she’s not afraid to attack the basket. … We said ‘If you see a lane, take it.’ ”