Bellarmine Prep’s defense didn’t rest until the Lions secured a spot in the West Central District girls 4A championship game.
Holding the Vikings to their second-lowest scoring output of the season, the Lions advanced to Saturday’s district final with a 62-41 win over Curtis on Wednesday night at Puyallup High School.
The fourth-ranked Lions (21-1) will meet third-ranked Todd Beamer, a 49-30 winner over Kentlake on Wednesday, at 6 p.m. Saturday night.
“We’ve anticipated that we might see each other,” Bellarmine coach Kevin Meines said. “They’re very talented; they’ll try to speed us up so it’ll be a contrast in styles. We’ll see who can impose their will on the other.”
Wednesday night it was the Lions’ length that imposed its will on the Vikings.
Switching on all screens and sagging into passing lanes, the Lions forced the Vikings into 27 turnovers.
“We think our five defensive kids can take any team out of what they want to do.” Meines said. “It wasn’t our best offensive performance, so we really needed to rise to the occasion defensively.”
Operating out of the high post, Claire Martin led the Lions with 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Shelby Gavigan added 12 points for the Lions. Freshman wing Shalyse Smith added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Peightyn Perrien led Curtis with 14 points.
“We stopped being aggressive. We went through long spurts where we were passive and that was our problem,” Curtis coach Jackie Thomas said. “We worked practicing against length all week, but we obviously struggled — 27 turnovers.”
Leading 9-7 after the first quarter, the Lions broke open the game with a 12-4 spurt to start the second quarter — with 10 of the 12 points coming off Curtis (20-6) turnovers.
Curtis plays Kentlake (19-6) Saturday at Mount Tahoma in a third-fourth place game. Both teams are already assured regional berths.
Leading by 24 at halftime, Beamer (23-1) watched Kentlake cut the deficit to as few as 12 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter before getting back on track offensively and downing the Falcons.
“We teach our girls, we can’t get complacent. Kentlake is a well-coached team, we knew they wouldn’t lay down and we knew our girls would rise to the occasion,” Alexander said.
The Titans reeled off 13 points before the Falcons got on the scoreboard and held Kentlake without a field goal until the five-minute mark of the third quarter.
Makenna Woodfolk led the Titans with 15 points.
The win clinched a third consecutive district title game berth for Beamer, which fell to Mount Rainier in the championship game both years.
“It’s a different year, we have everyone healthy and more experience. It should be a big difference,” Williams said.
Freshman Aniston Denckla led the Falcons with 11 points.