Call it ugly, or even a bit schoolyard.
But don’t call it
For many seasons under coach Jackie Thomas, the Curtis High School girls have made a living winning gritty, low-scoring basketball games — especially late in the season.
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Chalk up another one Thursday. The Vikings overcame a slow start to put away Tahoma, 45-32, in the opening round of the Class 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament at Curtis High School in University Place.
Kaelin Williams-Kennedy, a 5-foot-10 senior forward, poured in a season-high 20 points for the Vikings (16-6), who move on to play Auburn Riverside in the district quarterfinals on Friday at Stadium High School.
“She hasn’t had a game this season like that,” Thomas said. “And I think it was, ‘Hey, I am a senior … and I have to give it everything I have.’ She is a really talented player.”
Tahoma (17-5) jumped out to a 7-0 lead before the Vikings gained any traction on offense. They scored the next 10 points, and it was a nail-biter the rest of the first quarter.
And in the second quarter, Curtis’ fullcourt pressure forced 11 of the Bears’ game-high 23 turnovers.
“We got up in their speed,” Tahoma coach Pete DeBolt said. “That just fueled their fury.”
After Kaelan Shamseldin sank a 3-pointer midway through the quarter for the Bears to score her 1,000th career point, the visitors went cold, going scoreless in the final 4:36 of the first half.
At one point, Tahoma turned it over on five consecutive possessions. And Williams-Kennedy tallied six points for Curtis in the final 3:17 — the final one on a layup with 35 seconds remaining to give the Vikings a 24-20 lead.
“We stopped gambling on defense,” Thomas said.
Curtis opened the second half on an 11-4 run in the first 6:35, capped by Jalaya Frederick’s long 3-pointer, to extend its lead to 35-24.
“Defense is what drives us,” Williams-Kennedy said. “That is our go-to.”
Top Performer: Belle Frazier, Peninsula
Scored 32 points in the Seahawks’ 65-57 win over Lakes
4A WEST CENTRAL/SOUTHWEST
Bellarmine Prep 58, Union 15: Shalyse Smith had 13 points and 15 rebounds and the Lions’ defense set the tone from the first quarter on.
“We took them out of what they wanted to do,” Bellarmine coach Kevin Meines said. “They had the size advantage, but our kids came out really focused and it shows when we held them to three points in the first half.”
The Lions rose to the challenge of playing a playoff defense, as Meines pointed out, going into halftime with a 43-3 lead.
The Titans were led by Alexis Raymore’s six points.
Bellarmine advances to a winner-to-state game against Todd Beamer at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Mount Tahoma.
Todd Beamer 73, Skyview 56: The Titans have deep postseason experience, coming in third in the 4A state tournament in the past two years. That played to their benefit in their game against the Storm.
“We’ve been in this situation before,” Beamer coach Corey Alexander said. “Tonight was a good team effort as everyone got in the game. We challenged them to play for each other.”
Setting the tone early were seniors Japhera McEachin and Darion Brown, who scored 16 and 15 points, respectively. Defensively, the Titans slowed down the Storm’s three-point shooting.
“I think we are the best in the league,” Alexander said of his defense.
Hanna VanNortwick scored 19 points for
Auburn Riverside 45, Kentwood 30: McKenzi Williams scored 17 points, Olivia Denton had 13 and Faith Turner added 10 in the Ravens’ complete effort to beat the Conquerors.
Auburn Riverside held Kentwood to two points in the first quarter and led 21-11 at halftime.
3A WEST CENTRAL/ SOUTHWEST
Gig Harbor 62, Stadium 29: Defense was the key for the Tides as they were able to easily handle the Tigers at home by crashing the boards and hustling.
Maddie Willett was the leading scorer for Gig Harbor with 21 points and did a good job playing strong in the post.
“She was able to score down low and create a little bit of a mismatch problem,” said coach Megan Murray. “She plays really tough and finds a way to score.”
Brynna Maxwell chipped in 15 points for Gig Harbor.
Vanessa Higgins scored 18 points for Stadium.
Lincoln 63, Evergreen 24: The Abes were able to find rhythm early on as they shared the ball with each other, earning some easy buckets.
“We haven’t done a good job this year moving from sideline to sideline, but tonight we did a good job distorting the zone,” said coach Jamila Jones. “We played early with energy.”
Ashia Donahue and Kondalia Montgomery were the spark for Lincoln as they made plays and provided energy. That’s when Morticia McCall stepped up.
“McCall got to open parts of the zone,” Jones said. “She found the right shots and they were big, she got to the right part of the zone.”
McCall finished with a game-high 20 points. Montgomery also stepped up, going 3 for 5 beyond the arc.
Bethel 51, Shelton 37: Tianna Brown scored 15 of her 18 points on the night from beyond the 3-point line in the first half as the Braves handled the Highclimbers at home.
Nanalia Wagoner added nine points and Tiarra Brown scored eight.
“After a slow first quarter, our press kicked in and we created a lot of turnovers,” said Bethel coach John Ainslie. “We held them pretty good with our first line defense.”
Kayla Garins was the leading scorer for the Highclimbers with 10 points.
Wilson 45, Kelso 36: The Rams held off the Hilanders to advance to a winner-to-state game against Gig Harbor at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Olympia.
Peninsula 65, Lakes 57: Belle Frazier, Kirsten Ritchie and Payge Palagyi all converted baskets in transition to give the Seahawks a seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Lancers never recovered, and Peninsula closed out a first round win at North Thurston High School.
Belle Frazier, a sophomore forward, led the Seahawks with a game-high 32 points. Junior Kirsten Ritchie added another 21 points.
Zyriahn Louis led Lakes with 15 points, while Mallory LaPoole had 13 and Tatiana Sparks had 10.
Peninsula (15-6) plays Lincoln (17-4) in a winner-to-state game at noon Saturday at Olympia High School.
Lakes (12-8) plays Evergreen of Vancouver (9-9) in a loser-out game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Capital High School.
Mountain View 64, Yelm 53: The Tornados fell victim to the Thunder as there was no answer for Mollie Doyle.
Doyle scored 15 points and earned 13 rebounds, exactly what coach Dave McIntosh wasnted his team to do.
“Our plan was to create defensive chaos, and we did just that,” he said. “We played a complete game tonight and we led all the way through.”
In fact, it was the first quarter that proved to be the difference in the game as the Thunder outscored the Tornados 17-8.
Leading Yelm in scoring was Kaitlin Jewell with 16 points and Kylee Sweeny chipped in 13.
2A WEST CENTRAL/ SOUTHWEST
Fife 48, River Ridge 41: The Trojans held off the Hawks to advance to a winner-to-state game against North Kitsap at 1:45 p.m. Saturday at Foss High School.
Top Performer: Joey Bodoia, Bellarmine Prep
Scored 35 points in 76-54 win over Auburn.
4A WEST CENTRAL/SOUTHWEST BOYS
Federal Way 73, Puyallup 42: The Eagles rebounded from their first loss of the season — one that snapped their 4A state record 63-game win streak — to beat the Vikings behind Etan Collins’ 20 points.
Four other Eagles were able to reach double-digit points as well, including Malcolm Cola with 13 points and Elijah Nnanabu with 10.
The Vikings struggled to find their footing early on, but Landen Neff was able to get 15 points and Brennan Winter scored 10.
Federal Way advances to a winner-to-state game against Kentridge at noon Saturday at Mount Tahoma.
Bellarmine Prep 76, Auburn 54: It was a scoring duel between the Lions’ Joey Bodoia and the Trojans’ Pa’Treon Lee, but it was ultimately Bodoia who came out on top.
Bodoia’s 35 pointstopped Lee’s 34 points.
“They both had good games tonight,” said Bellarmine coach Bernie Salazar. “Our team did a good job finding Bodoia, and he did a good job finishing.”
With the win, Bellarmine advances to play Union in a rematch of last year’s
season-ending loss in the 4A state regional round. The game is at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Mount Tahoma.
Enumclaw 47, Skyview 41: The Hornets were able to squeak by the Storm thanks to Kaden Anderson.
Anderson scored 21 points, almost doubling any other total points scored. Teammate Peter Erickson added 12 points.
Leading the Storm was Alex Schumacher with 10 points.
Kentwood 67, Auburn Riverside 44: The Conquerors were able to handle the Ravens easily on their home court as Beau Roggenbach led all scores with 18 points.
Rayvaughn Bolton added 14 points to help secure the win for the Conquerors. The Ravens were led by Julian Gulchuk and Kamil Quadri, both with 11 points.
Staff writers Lauren Smith and Jordan Whitford contributed to this report