After a slow start, the Issaquah girls basketball team pulled away for a comfortable 62-35 win over its rivals, the Skyline Spartans, on Dec. 13.
Issaquah junior forward Alivia Stephens scored a game-high 28 points to lead the Eagles to victory. Issaquah head coach Doug Crandall said it was great to see Stephens play so well.
“(Stephens is) an incredibly hard worker,” Crandall said. “Whether it’s in the weight room or at practice. I think she’s really talented, but what you saw tonight was a reflection of a fantastic girl who works really hard.”
The game started out slowly for the Eagles, who held a narrow 9-5 lead after the first quarter. Crandall said the Eagles were making bad shot choices and over-dribbling. He said they had to match the intensity of their opponents.
“A ton of credit to Skyline, they came out fired up, diving for loose balls on the ground,” Crandall said. “I think they kind of punched us in the mouth a little bit with their energy.”
In the second quarter, the Eagles had an offensive explosion, outscoring the Spartans 25-6 to take a 34-11 halftime lead. Stephens led the way, scoring 17 points in the second quarter.
“I think we really realized we needed to get a jump on (Skyline),” Stephens said. ”We kind of underestimated them a little bit and then we started hitting our shots.”
The Eagles cruised in the second half to pick up the convincing 62-35 win over the visiting Spartans. Along with Stephens’ 28 points, sophomore guard Keira Hanson chipped in with nine points for the Eagles and played a strong defensive game.
“(Hanson) is always hustling,” Stephens said of her teammate. “She’s very positive and she’s always giving 100 percent.”
The win was an important bounce-back game for the Eagles, who suffered their first loss of the season, 61-44 to Woodinville, on Dec. 11. The Eagles led 24-20 at halftime before being outscored 41-20 in the second half.
Issaquah made it two straight wins by beating Lake Washington, 68-54, on Dec. 14, to improve to 5-1 on the season at press time.