Falcons defeat Wolves in overtime thriller in semifinals

With a berth in the Class 4A state championship game on the line, the Eastlake Wolves and Woodinville Falcons girls basketball teams played a game for the ages in a Class 4A semifinal contest.

The outcome of a matchup between the KingCo 4A rivals couldn’t be decided in regulation and was ultimately decided during a four-minute overtime session. The Wolves and Falcons were tied at 71-71 after four quarters of play. Woodinville outscored Eastlake 9-7 in the four-minute overtime session, capturing a 80-78 win in the Class 4A state semifinals on March 2 at the Tacoma Dome.

Eastlake sophomore Keeli Burton, who scored a team-high 30 points to go along with 21 rebounds, sunk back-to-back free throws with 1:10 left in overtime, giving Eastlake a 78-77 lead. With 19 seconds remaining in overtime, Woodinville’s Nikki Zaback scored on a coast to coast lay-up, giving Woodinville a 79-78 lead.

On Eastlake’s ensuing offensive possession, a three-point attempt was off the mark. Woodinville controlled the rebound before being fouled with just 2.0 seconds left on the clock. Mia Hughes hit the first throw (80-78 lead) but missed the second attempt.

The Wolves corralled the rebound but were unable to unleash a last-second shot from nearly full court as the buzzer sounded. Eastlake displayed their heart and determination against Woodinville. The Wolves trailed by eight points at halftime.

With 2:07 left in the fourth quarter, Woodinville appeared to have a comfortable 68-59 lead. Eastlake never gave up and simply kept battling despite the deficits. The fourth quarter and overtime belonged to Burton, who scored 14 points and dominated the action in the paint. With 18.1 seconds left and the Wolves trailing the Falcons 71-69, Burton calmly sunk back-to-back free throws, tying the game at 71-71 to force overtime. Burton scored four of her team’s seven points in overtime as well.

Eastlake senior point guard Gina Marxen marveled at Burton’s valiant performance.

“She had an amazing game,” Marxen said. “She played so hard offensively and defensively and was the spark of energy that we needed. We wouldn’t have been able to come back in that game without her. Every time we came down we were trying to get it inside to her. She was drawing fouls and was scoring. She did amazing.”

Eastlake head coach Sara Goldie said her squad left everything they had on the floor.

“My girls battled every second of that game. That was phenomenal,” Goldie said. “They kept their heads down and they took care of business. They battled back and got ourselves in a position to be able to go to overtime and we battled through overtime. That is what basketball and team is all about. I’m so proud of them. Keeli was getting clobbered inside and she fought through it. She was finishing and stepping to the (free throw) line with all of the confidence in the world. I’m extremely proud of my team.”