The Dartmouth commit had 27 points and 16 rebounds as the Islanders took control of the KingCo 3A/2A with a 58-46 win over the Wolverines
Gail Koziara Boudreaux, coach of the Dartmouth College women’s basketball program, got to see firsthand the player she gets to coach next winter in Anna Luce.
She had to be happy.
Luce, Mercer Island’s versatile 6-foot-2 post player, gave her future coach plenty of ideas on how to use her talents.
Luce poured in 27 points and pulled down 16 rebounds as the Islanders won for the first time in four seasons on KingCo 3A/2A kingpin Bellevue’s home court, 58-46 on Friday night.
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“It means the world to me and (teammates) Kailee (Yan) and Josie (Blakeslee),” Luce said of the senior class being able to beat Bellevue twice in one season. “We’ve been in the program for four years now, and we’ve only beat them one other time besides the two wins we have this year. It’s always been a goal of ours to beat them, and this year we came together and did it.”
Fueled by tough defense and the matchup advantage with Luce at the other end, Mercer Island opened a 37-25 halftime lead and never let the Wolverines within eight points the rest of the way.
Bellevue (10-2, 6-2 KingCo) led 10-6 after the opening 2:01, but MI closed out the first quarter on a 15-5 run to take control.
“Tonight our girls took care of business, so it’s huge,” MI coach Gillian D’Hondt said. “They did what it took defensively to win that game. I have one post player (Luce) on my entire team, and we’re playing guards out of position (on defense).
“They’re fronting, they’re boxing out, they’re digging deep and it’s their work ethic that got those wins.”
Luce scored on an array of drives, jump shots and putbacks as MI (11-0, 9-0) kept sole possession of first place in the league and took a big step toward dethroning Bellevue, the defending Class 3A state champions.
Junior Jessie Stenberg, a 5-foot-5 guard, contributed a career-high 17 points for the Islanders.
“We play great together, and it’s our defense that’s winning the games,” said Luce, who entered the game averaging 25.5 points and 9.4 rebounds. “We have great help-side (defense) and we’re really hedging on the screens and we’re talking a lot.
“That’s where it starts, on defense. Then, our offense will come.”
Annika Prins, one of just three regulars back from the Wolverines’ title team, tallied 16 points and teammate Eva Richards, a freshman guard, added 11 off the bench.
The Islanders won the first meeting this season against Bellevue 67-44 at home Dec. 12. That victory snapped a 31-game winning streak for the Wolverines. The Islanders ended a seven-game losing streak to Bellevue with that first win.