The Issaquah girls basketball team opened the district tournament with an emphatic 66-21 victory over Mount Vernon in a loser-out game on Feb. 14. In their second game, the Eagles battled back against Glacier Peak, but fell short in a 53-51 loss on Feb. 15.
Against Mount Vernon, the Eagles defense overwhelmed the Bulldogs early and often as they jumped out to an early 26-2 lead after the first quarter. The Eagles would take a commanding 43-8 lead into halftime. In the second half, Issaquah cruised to a comfortable 66-21 win to keep its season alive.
Issaquah’s junior forward Alivia Stephens had a game-high 15 points for the Eagles.
Issaquah head coach Doug Crandall said going into the game they were focused on playing with energy.
“We felt that if we had energy, we could win this game,” Crandall said. “I think we came out a little flat to start, but I thought our energy was really good.”
With a game the next day against 4A Wesco champions Glacier Peak, Crandall said it was good to get some of the starters rest in the second half as well as getting some younger players some minutes. Freshman Hannah Cameron had six points and five rebounds coming off the bench.
“I think it was great to get the freshmen and sophomores in there in a playoff environment,” Crandall said. “They’re good, we just have to get them minutes.”
Against Glacier Peak, the Eagles rallied from being down 51-37 with five minutes left to pull within a point in the final minute, but they ran out of time in a 53-50 loss.
Leading the Eagles offensively was junior guard Cam Gibson who had 14 points, including three 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Keira Hanson and Stephens both had 12 points for Issaquah in the loss to the Grizzlies.
The Eagles entered the fourth quarter trailing 42-33, but the Issaquah defense tightened up and forced Glacier Peak to turn over the ball late in the quarter. The Grizzlies only scored two points in the final five minutes. The Eagles clawed their way back thanks to a 3-pointer from Stephens and some clutch free throws from Hanson.
The Eagles thought they had taken the lead after Hanson drove to the net and made a layup, but the sophomore guard was called for a charge. Glacier Peak’s Maya Erling made a pair of free throws to help the Grizzlies hold on.