With the season on the line, Skyline Spartans senior girls basketball player Jade Loville delivered with a signature performance.
Loville scored a game-high 37 points, propelling Skyline to a 72-57 victory against the Newport Knights in a KingCo 4A loser-out girls basketball playoff contest on Feb. 15 at Lake Washington High School in Kirkland. Skyline improved their overall record to 16-8 with the win. Newport finished the 2017-18 season with an overall record of 14-7. The Spartans dominated the first quarter outscoring the Knights 25-9, which set the tone for the remainder of the game. Loville scored 13 of her 37 points in the first quarter.
“We knew we had to jump on them early. We just wanted to come in with energy and keep the momentum going. We knew if we could shut them down in the first quarter that the rest of the game would be so much easier,” Loville said.
Spartans’ head coach Stacie Erfle was proud of her team for their sizzling start in the first eight minutes of the game.
“It was time to start playing high caliber defense. They came out and did that. Defense fuels our offense,” Erfle said of her squad. “They came out hard and they wanted it.”
Skyline led Newport by 19 points (58-39 lead) after three quarters of play but saw their lead slowly dwindle in the fourth quarter. The Knights unveiled full-court press defense and Newport junior guard Nicole Chan hit a three-pointer with 4:28 left in regulation, cutting Skyline’s lead to 62-52. It was the closest the Knights comeback bid would get. Skyline outscored Newport 10-5 in the final four minutes of regulation to clinch the victory.
“We knew Newport was going to make a run. That is what great teams do. It was just a matter of composure and a matter of our seniors stepping up and being leaders when the game and the season was on the line,” Erfle explained.
Loville said staying composed is a staple of the Spartans basketball philosophy.
“We know every team is going to come out and make runs. We just have to continue to do what we have to do and keep our head in the game. It helps so much,” Loville said.
The Spartans will face the Eastlake Wolves in a winner-to-regional, loser-out playoff game at 6 p.m. on Feb. 17 at Lake Washington High School in Kirkland. Erfle is thrilled her team is still alive at this juncture of the playoffs.
“They work so hard. To get one game closer to a possible state berth is amazing. I just want it so bad for these girls. We’re not ready for the season to end,” Erfle said. “I love this group of girls. They’ve really came together as a team and we just want to keep it going as long as we can.”