Now it’s getting kind of serious.
Two games for the No. 7 Lincoln girls, two double-digit victories – this time a 53-37 win Thursday morning over unranked Stanwood in the Class 3A state quarterfinals in the Tacoma Dome.
The Abes (21-6) are now in waters they have not been in since 1980 – the state semifinals. They will play No. 1 Bishop Blanchet at 3:45 p.m. Friday.
For the second consecutive day, senior Morticia McCall led the way for Lincoln with 22 points and 13 rebounds. She tallied 17 points in a hot-starting first half. Faith Brantley, the sophomore point guard, added 14 points.
So what has changed with the suddenly-poised Abes from last week’s disheartening overtime loss to Snohomish in the regional round?
“They don’t want to go home,” Lincoln coach Jamila Jones said. “The very first question they had in their players’ meeting was … ‘Who wants this to be their last game?’ They were a resounding, ‘Not me.’
“They are writing their own history right now. This is a big deal.”
They are playing like it is a big moment.
Right now, the entire offense is funneling through McCall – and rightfully so. She is one of the senior leaders. And she is clearly the team’s best facilitator on offense.
That is remarkable, given that the 5-foot-10 forward did not starting getting serious about basketball until eighth grade.
“First, I started playing soccer,” McCall said. “Then I moved to Kent, and my brothers started playing basketball … and I liked the sport.”
For somebody four years into playing the sport competitively, McCall has an innate understanding of the sport’s nuances.
“She is good,” Jones said. “And really, she is a gym rat. She wants to get better.
“I’ve been telling (recruiters), whoever gets her is getting a steal. Right now, she is putting the world on notice.”
Like Wednesday, the Abes jumped out early – 8-0 in the first 3:10. It was capped by McCall’s running basket down the right baseline.
“We had nerves at the start,” Stanwood coach Dennis Kloke said.
Even though the Spartans (20-5) got as close as 19-18 late in the first half, Lincoln always had a response in leading from start to finish.
And the Abes closed the first half on a 9-0 run. McCall put back her own miss for a bucket, and Brantley sank a deep 3-pointer to fuel the spurt, giving Lincoln a 28-20 halftime lead.
Lincoln buried three 3-pointers in the first 3:22 of the second half, including two by Shawndriea Brown from the top of the arc.
Brantley’s final 3-pointer came at the 3:17 mark of the third quarter, and the Abes led, 40-26.
McCall noted the team came together this week for one purpose – a run at the city’s first girls basketball crown.
“The Tacoma Dome changed it,” she said. “A lot of people were doubting us that we were going to lose our first game and be out. We don’t want to lose. We’ve been playing like a team – together.”