The last time the Puyallup High girls basketball team played Sumner, the Spartans sank a late 3-pointer to pull out the win.
In a similar situation late in the game Friday night at home, this time it was Puyallup escaping with a win.
Sumner guard Joy Mahnken’s 3-point heave at the buzzer missed, allowing the Vikings to hang on for a 57-55 win in their 4A SPSL league opener.
“I remember last year when we played them, and that game was won on a last-minute 3-pointer,” Madison Salisbury said of last year’s 44-40 loss on Jan. 2. “My coach said it’s like déjà vu.”
After guard Taylor Hammel (12 points) nailed two free throws to give the Vikings their largest lead of the night, 53-44, with 5 minutes, 5 seconds left in the game, Sumner slowly put together a comeback.
Sumner (0-1) came firing back first with Kennedy Cutter (eight points) rifling off a 3-pointer from the wing to cut the lead to five.
On the ensuing possession, Puyallup had a bit of luck on the offensive end as Salisbury corralled the rebound after two Spartan defenders couldn’t pull it down. Salisbury found sophomore Grace Marvin, who drew the foul on her shot. Marvin could only knock down one of the two free throws to push the lead to 54-47.
“(In) our league, period, it’s going to be a battle no matter what,” Puyallup coach Cherokee Ainslie said. “We had a lot of people step up. Grace (Marvin) stepped up when Sophie (DeWitt) got into foul trouble.”
Sumner’s blitz towards the finish began with freshman point guard Callie Stevens hitting a free throw to trim the Puyallup (1-1) lead to 55-50 with 1:40 left.
Cutter then hit a layup, only to steal the inbound pass and connect with Abbie Burns down low. Burns drew the Puyallup defense toward her before making an extra pass to Mahnken for the bucket, cutting the deficit to one with 38 seconds on the clock.
“We know each other so well, it was just going on instincts,” said Mahnken, who finished with 20 points. “I tried finding her, and she made the extra pass back to me under the hoop.”
Hanging on to a one-point lead, Hammel was able to draw a foul with Sumner in the bonus and the Vikings’ guard made both shots to push their lead to 57-54 with 26 seconds left.
Burns drew a foul on the Spartans’ offensive end, only to knock down one of two free throws to make it 57-55 with 17 seconds left.
Mahnken and Burns forced a turnover after trapping one of Puyallup’s guards in the corner, giving the ball right back to the Spartans, nearly the exact same circumstance as last year’s game inside the same gym.
Burns passed to Mahnken in the corner, but after a dribble the Viking defense poked the ball out of the her hands, wiping nearly 10 seconds off the clock. Mahnken was able to get a handle on the loose ball before kicking it back out to Cutter with six seconds left.
As Mahnken swung back out to the right wing of the 3-point arc, Cutter found Mahnken on a return pass but Puyallup’s DeWitt forced an awkward shot on the release, with the ball hitting the back of the rim at the buzzer.
“I was telling Cherokee that this was like déjà vu after the game,” Sumner coach Jordan Moog said. “Unfortunately it didn’t go in our favor tonight.”