In was a wild final 30 seconds, one the No. 8 Braves gave Bellevue chances to tie – and win – this game for third place in the Tacoma Dome.
But Blanchet (24-7), the returning 3A runner-up, finally closed it out with one superb defensive series for a 68-66 win.
It all started when Jadyn Bush had a chance to essentially put the game away from the free-throw line on a three-point play with 29.3 seconds to go.
She made the foul shot, but it was waved up when Blanchet was called for a lane violation.
Trailing 66-63, Bellevue tied the game on Ann Marie Jacobs’ 3-pointer from the left side with 18 seconds remaining.
Blanchet point guard Taylor Chambers raced the other way, and was fouled hard in the lane. She made the second of two free throws, and the Braves led 67-66 with 12.1 seconds to go.
The second-ranked Wolvernes (26-5) got the ball in Mandy Steward’s hands. She dribbled up the right sideline, made one cut and got off an off-balance baseline floater.
“We wanted to attack the basket. We knew they couldn’t foul, or we were at the foul line,” Bellevue coach Leah Krautter said. “We didn’t get the shot we wanted.”
Steward’s 12-footer with 1.8 seconds remaining never even got close to the rim against the Braves’ double-teaming coverage.
“I think honestly that was the best defensive play of the game,” Bush said. “We had some lapses in our defense down the stretch, and they would go on runs. But we really pulled it together for those last 12 seconds.
Bush led the Braves with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Chambers added 17 points. Tatiana Streun tallied 21 points and 11 rebounds as well for Bellevue, with Steward and Shelby Cansler chipping in with 15 points apiece.