Warrior girls win West Central District

Courtesy Article by Gerardo Bolong

It was an accomplishment befitting the monumental effort.Seattle Christian worked its way back from ground zero with stifling defense to shock Nisqually 1A girls regular season champion Bellevue Christian 36-34 in the West Central District III title game at Bellarmine Prep High School on Thurs,, Feb. 16.This emotional victory qualified the Warriors to a Feb. 24 or 25 regional winner-to-state battle against Columbia (Burbank)at a time and location to be determined.In addition to avenging two regular season losses to the perennially powerful Vikings, the Warriors stopped their frustration against BC following six years and 13 consecutive losses to their Eastside opponents.According to Alex Ellis who scored seven points to go along with six rebounds, it was a true effort of the collective."It was tight," she said. "We put our hearts and souls into it and guarded every player. Taking care of the ball was better."The road to victory narrowed in the fourth quarter. After the defense whipsawed the vulnerable Vikings, the determined Warriors piled up a 34-27 margin at the 3:43 mark of the quarter.At that point, Seattle Christian(17-2)from SeaTac nearly let matters out of its control.Ball handling mistakes in the excitement of having the game in hand enabled Bellevue Christian to come storming back to trail only 34-32 with 90 seconds left in regulation.With 57.9 second showing, Olivia Clark penetrated to the basket for a layup to stretch the advantage to 36- 32.Rachel Berg notched a pair of free throws to draw Bellevue Christian within two, again at the 16 second mark.Seattle Christian missed a chance to seal the deal by missing the first of a possible one plus one penalty chance, but the Vikings missed a close-in shot, but earned one chance on a tied-up rebound that awarded possession to BC behind its own offensive basket.Berg had terrorized the Warriors the entire game on 19 points and five steal as she hit 3-pointers and worked well inside was fouled at the buzzer, placing her at the free throw line for two shots.The first shot slightly to the right on the back rim and failed to drop, rendering the second shot unnecessary and Seattle Christian claimed the title. The Warrior girls rushed to the court in a prelude to accepting the WCD team championship trophy from commissioner Tom Thomsen and cutting down the net."It wasn't quite the way we planned it, but the girls played hard with great defense," attested SC head coach Dave Jansen. "Bellevue Christian is a great team and our defense had to match their intensity. We were positioned well, but got a little rattled in the fourth quarter."Hypertension ruled the first quarter and seemed to affect both squads' abilities to make baskets.The Warrior defense nearly nullified the Viking drives to he hoop, but the Seattle Christian shot making was even more anemic in a 6-4 Viking lead after one quarter.SC finished the first half with six points on a Seri Anderson 3-point goal and a trio of SC free throws, but incredibly stayed within six points after shooting 0-for-12 from standard field goal range. BC put up 15 shots from the point range and converted four.As the game wore on, Anderson found the range inside and outside for 12 points including 3-of-6 from beyond the 3-point arc.Overcoming a Berg steal and basket to open the second half, Seattle Christian worked its way back behind two Anderson 3-pointers sandwiched around a Clark free throw to cut its deficit to 14-10.Later in the quarter, Anderson squared up for a 3-pointer ahead of and an underhanded, lefty scooping layup after a BC bucket to get the Warriors within 17-15.Bellevue Christian moved ahead by six points before Clark responded with a driving lay up and a runner to keep SC within 22-19 heading into the fourth quarter.Julia Seibel nailed a high arcing basket from inside off an in bounds pass to ignite a Warrior offensive movement. Ellis was fouled on a 3-point try and converted all three free throws before Bellevue attempted a defensive rebound and unwittingly tipped the ball to Clark as a set up for another Warrior basket.As the din in the gym intensified, Clark later matched a Berg trey with one of her own to make the score 29-25. It was Clark back to main stage on an assist to Seibel for a 31-25 Seattle Christian margin with 4:31 on the scoreboard clocks."Our defense was better," she said. "We trusted each other because it helped with our communication."Clark scored 13 points and rushed for eight rebounds and three assists.Nicole Bloch cut to the hoop, resulting in two converted charity tosses only to be more than matched by an Ellis 3-pointer from deep in the corner after a long rebound to Kelli Ronish and a Warrior time out at the 3:58 mark, and SC was in control at 34-27, setting up the fourth quarter of enlightenment.Letting everything loose upon her foes was straightforward for senior Makenzie May."We came well prepared and had nothing to lose," she stated.Junior Seibel was a key role player with four points and seven rebounds."It was so amazing," added Seibel. "I just helped out when I could."Bellevue Christian aided the Seattle Christian cause by clanking 14-of-28 from the free throw line. For the game the Warriors shot 24.1 per cent from standard field goal range the Vikings 20 per cent as the squads displayed achievement far below the pale of average. SC held its own on rebounds, leading 43-42.Ronish earned six caroms and three steals.Rostered players for the Seattle Christian Warriors 2017 West Central District III champions are Lexi Bates, Maddy Fors, Kelli Ronish, Liliana Mafi, Alex Ellis, Makenzie May, Olivia Clark, Seri Anderson, Natalie Childress, Anna Whitten and Julia Seibel.Head coach Dave Jansen is assisted by coaches Casey Ribera and Kara Kogle. Managers are Brendan Merdich and Charlize Stovall. Providing statistics are Dave Laudan and Steven Laudan.

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