It was about time the 4A KingCo crashed the big party.
That is what the Eastlake High School Wolves did Saturday night in winning their first Class 4A state girls basketball championship.
Led by tournament MVP Keeil Burton-Oliver’s 22 points and 12 rebounds, the Wolves finished off their marvelous run through the state tournament with a convincing 53-47 victory over Lewis and Clark in the Tacoma Dome.
Guard Callie Lind added 12 points, and Eastlake’s unsung hero — forward Mae Bryant — had 10 points, six rebounds, five blocked shots and was the one mainly in charge of holding down Tigers’ standout and UNLV-bound Jacinta Buckley (eight points on 4-of-18 shooting).
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It was the first time a KingCo school won the 4A title since Garfield beat Snohomish in the 2004 finals.
And immediately, Wolves coach Sara Goldie saluted the toughness of her league, which she said was essential in Eastlake’s late-season growth.
“Thank you to every KingCo team that helped us prepare for this game,” Goldie said. “(They) made us better.”
The Wolves (21-6) weren’t even the 4A KingCo’’s best team during the regular season — 2018 state finalist Woodinville was.
But, in the regional round, Eastlake upended Woodinville, 63-54, to grab one of the state tournament’s four byes.
After that, they sent down Inglemoor (63-46) and Bellarmine Prep (76-46) to advance to play the top team from the Greater Spokane League, which had won the 4A title in five of the past seven seasons.
“That game gave us the momentum to come into state tournament the way we did, and helped us play the way we did,” Burton-Oliver said.
Eastlake closed out the third quarter Saturday with a flurry — Callie Lind’s 3-pointer and Burton-Oliver’s three-point play — to grab a 39-32 lead.
Lewis and Clark (23-3) trimmed it to 43-38 on Andie Zylak’s jumper with 4:58 to go, but Burton-Oliver responded with five consecutive points, including a right-corner 3-pointer, and suddenly the Wolves had their biggest 10-point advantage.
That was about it for the GSL champions, who went scoreless for a critical 4:22 stretch — until Dominique Arquette’s 3-pointer with 36.5 seconds remaining. She led Lewis and Clark with 19 points.
The Tigers not only saw their 13-game winning streak ended, but their bid for a fifth 4A crown was halted as well.
“These players believe in the system, and they believe in each other,” Goldie said. “When you have an opportunity and seize it, great things can happen.”
NO. 8 EASTLAKE 53, NO. 3 LEWIS AND CLARK 47
NO. 8 EASTLAKE
NO. 3 LEWIS AND CLARK
E – Shooting: 22 of 50 (44 percent). Free throws: 6 of 12 (50). Turnovers: 8.
LC – Shooting: 18 of 54 (33.3 percent). Free throws: 5 of 10 (50). Turnovers: 12.
E – Keeli Burton-Oliver 22, Mae Bryant 10, Callie Lind 12, Haley Huard 9.
LC – Kayle Bishop 3, Jacinta Buckley 8, Andie Zylak 6, Dominique Arquette 19, Anna Reeves 6, Sativa Rogers 3, Jaimyn Sides 2.