Kentridge’s JaQuaya Miller is so powerfully built, she looks like she could wrestle a full-grown grizzly bear in the woods by herself
Teammate Jordyn Jenkins might do her one better — with less effort.
On the basketball court, they are quite the handful, especially as a working-the-paint duo for the Chargers.
And a tired Bellarmine Prep squad really did little to limit their effectiveness.
Both Kentridge post players recorded double-doubles, and the sixth-ranked Chargers are one game away from their first Class 4A state girls championship after a 54-41 over the No. 4 Lions on Friday night in the Tacoma Dome.
Jenkins, a 6-foot-1 ninth grader, led the Chargers (24-5) with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Miller, a 6-3 sophomore, added 11 points and 14 rebounds. Guard Morgan Gary also had 16 points for the Chargers.
Kentridge plays Glacier Peak at 7 p.m. on Saturday for the 4A state crown.
“I am excited for these kids,” Chargers coach Bob Sandall said. “They’ve worked their rear ends off. They spend all kinds of time off the court together. I am so happy for them.”
This semifinal matchup had plenty of intrigue: These two West Central District foes had split two games earlier this season — the Chargers winning 60-59 in early December, and the Lions avenging the defeat with a 54-43 victory in the district playoffs.
And you might not see three more talented post players in the area than the Kentridge tandem plus Bellarmine Prep’s Shalyse Smith, a top-50 prospect nationally for 2018 who has given an oral commitment to play at the University of Arizona.
On Friday, Miller and Jenkins more than equalized the Lions’ standout.
“Each of us were finishing — and going hard,” Jenkins said.
Miller started the second half with a long fadeway 3-pointer, then scored inside to give the Chargers a 33-25 lead.
And at the end of the third quarter, it was Jenkins’ turn. She converted a nifty spin-move jumper in the lane, then scored on a putback on Kentridge’s next trip with 47 seconds remaining.
After that, the Lions (25-3) ran out of gas.
They missed their first 10 field goal attempts of the fourth quarter — all while the Chargers went on a game-clinching 12-0 run.
Smith and Reyelle Frazier, Bellarmine Prep’s two best players, combined to score eight points (2-for-20 from the floor). The team shot 24.5 percent from the floor overall.
“Our legs were dead,” Lions coach Kevin Meines said. “It was a tough go for us out there offensively.
“That is a great team. They are long. They are strong. They are physical. They do all the things you need to do to win tournament basketball.”
And here is the kicker: With its young talent, Kentridge is going to be around for a while, led by Miller and Jenkins.
“We are young,” Jenkins said. “Getting this far is amazing.”