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Wolverines claim crown | Girls Basketball
The Friday Harbor girls basketball program waited 26 years to clinch its first outright league championship.
That was back in 2010. The second came — by comparison — in a blink of an eye.
“It feels awesome to be able to say you’re part of a team that has two championships,” said senior Larissa Nash, a sophomore and defensive stalwart on the 2010/11 title team. “Every year there’s a period where you don’t play all that well, a couple of days or a couple of weeks, but we realized how bad we really wanted it and worked hard to get there. It was really a team thing.”
The Wolverines (12-2 league, 14-6 overall) claimed their second Northwest 1A/2B title in three years with a decisive 49-38 victory over Orcas at home, Saturday, in their regular-season finale.
They closed out a 20-game regular season schedule in style, dispatching six consecutive league rivals, three on the road and three at home.
And, they upset then-league-leading La Conner in their last regular-season game on the road to leap-frog their way to the 2011/2012 league title.
With the score knotted at 17 apiece at the half and league crown on the line, Friday Harbor held the Braves to just a single point in the third quarter to take a 27-18 lead and control of the contest going into the final period of play.
They proved steady at the free-throw line in the fourth period (they knocked down 16-of-21 attempts for the game, or 76 percent) and kept La Conner at arm’s length down the stretch to take sole possession of first place in the league standings with a hard-fought 35-30 victory Friday on the Braves’ home court.
Senior Liz Taylor, a sophomore on the 2010/11 title team, scored 13 points to pace the offense in Friday’s match up at La Conner. Senior Mandy Turnbull, also a sophomore on the 2010/2011 team, contributed nine points. With the victory, the Wolverines also avenged a loss to the Braves (8-3 league) at home earlier in the season.
“We knew what it meant,” Turnbull said of the significance of Friday’s game at La Conner. “But we went in there thinking that we really had nothing to lose. We played so well as a team. It was really great to see us put it all together.”
At home Saturday against Orcas (7-7 league), the Wolverines pick-pocketed their way to 10-point lead at the half by victimizing the Vikings with a suffocating full-court press and capitalizing on a succession of turnovers. They matched the Vikings stride for stride in the second half, 21-20, to seal the win and to claim sole possession of first place in the league standings. Sophomore Tabatha Keane led all scorers with 15 points, Taylor had 12 and Turnbull added 10. Orcas sophomore Bella Nigretto scored 12 points to lead the Vikings and senior Kathryn Tidwell had 10.
The Wolverines open post-season play on the road, Thursday, against Kings High School; tip off is 5 p.m. The Knights (13-1 league, 18-2 overall) are begin post-season play as the Cascade Conference’s top-seeded team.