Eagles nearly complete comeback against Knights

The Issaquah Eagles girls basketball team just ran out of time against the Newport Knights.

Issaquah, which trailed by 14 points at the end of the third quarter, cut Newport’s lead to six points on four different occasions in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the Knights hit eight free throws in the final eight minutes, preserving a 63-57 victory on Jan. 26 at Newport High School in Factoria. Newport improved its KingCo 4A record to 11-2 with the win. Issaquah dropped to 7-6 in league play with the loss. Issaquah head coach Jackie Bykonen said Newport’s offense was difficult to stop in the third quarter.

“They just got hot from the outside. We battled tonight, we just had some mental mistakes,” Bykonen said.

Issaquah led Newport 21-20 at halftime but were outscored 23-8 in the third quarter.

“We’ve been great in the third quarter all year long. I challenged them at halftime to just do what they do. They came out and played a really good third quarter. It made a big difference for us,” Newport head coach Travis Whitaker said.

The Knights girls basketball program is currently tied for second place in the KingCo 4A division. It has been a long time since the Knights were this formidable on the hardwood and that was something that had Whitaker brimming with pride following the win against Issaquah.

“This group has fought through a lot of adversity. They’ve had several years of tough seasons and they’ve worked so hard to get here. I’m so happy for them,” he said.

Newport junior guard Nicole Chan scored a game-high 23 points and hit five three-pointers in the win. Newport senior Vanessa Hsia added 12 points as well. Issaquah was effected by the absence of sharpshooter Luci Stewart. Stewart missed the game against Newport due to an injured right thumb.

“It hurt not having Luci,” Bykonen said.

Issaquah freshman forward Alivia Stephens-Kirkman scored a team-high 17 points in the loss.