After a physical regulation followed by two equally grueling overtime sessions, one had to wonder if Laura Stockton had enough strength to even lift the state championship trophy.
“Absolutely,” the Gonzaga Prep senior guard answered when asked if she had anything left in the tank. “This was a battle though.”
Stockton scored 13 points and dished out six assists, Otiona Gildon added 17 points and Gonzaga Prep beat a valiant Inglemoor squad, 57-51, in double overtime to claim its second straight Class 4A girls state basketball title at the Tacoma Dome on Saturday.
“It was just a very physical game,” Stockton said. “We needed to play that way especially with the way their post (Deja Strother) was playing. If we didn’t play physical she would have taken over.”
Strother, Inglemoor’s dominating 6-foot-5 center, scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss.
The Bullpups (26-0) close out the season riding a 50-game winning streak, but none of the previous 49 were quite like this.
Gonzaga Prep appeared to be on cruise control through the first three quarters, never really appearing to be in any danger of losing to the Vikings (25-2).
The Bullpups led by as many as 14 points and took a 43-33 lead into the final frame.
The Vikings were far from finished, however.
“This team doesn’t quit,” Inglemoor coach John Augustavo said. “We’ve been down 10, 12 points before and came back to win. We just knew we had to take it one basket at a time.”
The Vikings opened the fourth on a 12-0 run, grabbing their first lead of the game at 45-43 on an Alex Hagen layup with 2 minutes, 11 seconds to play.
Stockton — who set the modern tournament record with 15 steals over three games — tied the contest at 45 with 37 seconds remaining in regulation.
Inglemoor had one final chance to win it, but failed to connect in the closing seconds, sending the title game into an extra frame for just the fourth time in tournament and the first since Garfield defeated Snohomish (63-58) in 2005.
By the time the second overtime rolled around — a first for a state title game — both teams appeared exhausted.
“Our starters all played over 35 minutes tonight,” Augustavo said, “but so did theirs.”
A 3-pointer by Tayler Drynan pushed Gonzaga Prep’s lead to 53-49 midway through the second overtime.
The Vikings answered with a 3-pointer from Hagen, who finished with 16 points.
It would be the final points Inglemoor would scored as the Bullpups closed out the contest with a handful of free throws and a baseline jumper from Oona Harrington, which proved to be too much to overcome.
“We had it,” Augustavo said. “It just all came down to a few possessions at the end where we came up short, but I couldn’t be prouder of this team.”
Stockton bookended the first quarter with a pair of spectacular plays. The first coming on a pretty bounce pass through the paint which found a streaking Gildon, whose easy layup seemed to set the tone early, showing the Bullpups had no intentions of shying away from Inglemoor’s interior defense and Strother’s intimidating presence.
Stockton then closed out the first quarter with a steal before driving two-thirds the length of the court to beat the clock and hit a layup as the horn sounded, giving Gonzaga Prep a comfortable 15-4 advantage.
The lead would dip under double digits only once the remainder of the first half and Gonzaga Prep took a 31-19 cushion into the intermission.
Gildon, who only had two points in the Bullpups’ semifinal victory over Todd Beamer, had 10 points on 5 of 9 shooting at the half.