Shelby Cansler scored 18 points as the Wolverines got some revenge after an overtime loss to the Rebels four weeks ago.
KIRKLAND — The frustration festered.
It had been four long weeks — and seemed like forever, freshman Shelby Cansler admitted — since the ninth-ranked Bellevue girls basketball team suffered its lone loss to Juanita, 68-60 in overtime.
“It was disappointing,” Cansler said. “We had it until like the last moment, then we gave it away.”
So, Friday’s 59-44 victory over the Rebels was especially satisfying.
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“This was our biggest game,” said Cansler, who scored 11 of her game-high 18 points in the second quarter as the Wolverines built a 30-21 halftime lead. “We got our confidence back.”
Bellevue (15-1 overall, 9-1) remained one game ahead of Mercer Island and moved two in front of Juanita in KingCo 3A/2A.
Proving they can beat the Rebels, the two-time defending champs, is a big step for the Wolverines.
“This is the one we really needed to get,” coach Leah Krautter said. “There’s just something about Juanita.”
At times, the Wolverines showed their youth — they don’t have a senior on the roster — but they also showed a lot of talent. The 6-foot Cansler ate Juanita up inside in the second period, at one point scoring nine in a row.
In the third quarter, another 6-foot frosh, Tatiana Streun, stepped up with 11 of her 13 points to key a 12-2 run that gave Bellevue a 19-point cushion. She finished with a double-double, adding 12 rebounds.
But Juanita, being Juanita, didn’t go away quietly. The Rebels (10-6, 7-3), coming off a triple-overtime loss to Liberty, cut the lead to 12 with 5 ½ minutes to play. But the Wolverines didn’t fold. When Juanita closed the gap to nine with 37 seconds left, they drained six straight free throws.
Breanna Carter led the Rebels with 10 points, and coach Sam Lee said he was pleased with the way they battled back in the final quarter.
“At least we made a game of it,” he said. “I don’t like to lose, but Bellevue is a good team.”
Krautter has been pleasantly surprised at just how good.
“People were telling me this was going to be a building year,” she said. “I knew we would be competitive, but I definitely didn’t think we would be in this position right now.”