BELLEVUE – Bishop Blanchet is officially back.
Back as a girls basketball power, and back in the 3A state round of 16.
A pair of new faces have been key to the Braves’ return to their old ways.
Freshmen Jadyn Bush and Taylor Chambers combined for 30 points – 20 of those by Bush – as the third-ranked Braves beat No. 9 Holy Names 52-37 Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the Sea-King 3A District girls basketball tournament at Bellevue College.
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Blanchet (20-3), which plays No. 7 Bellevue (19-5) in the semifinals Thursday with a regional berth in hand, is enjoying its first winning season since 2004-05 – the year after the team reached the final 16.
Between 1995 and 2001, Blanchet was a state regular, reaching the championship game five times and winning back-to-back titles in ’95 and ’96.
Senior Caitlyn Dixon, who contributed 10 points Tuesday, said she saw this return to glory coming when Bush and Chambers enrolled.
“I was really excited knowing we were getting these freshmen, and knowing we had a good group of girls coming back,” Dixon said. “I thought we could make a difference in the league and show that the Blanchet legacy is still alive.”
Coach Bryan Willison, in his seventh season, had high expectations, too – and not just because of the addition of the freshmen.
“It’s just been a real nice mesh of classes,” he said.
And while much of the focus has been on the 5-foot-11 Bush, who also had 10 rebounds, Willison calls Chambers “the straw that stirs the drink.”
Six of her points came during the Braves’ 12-4 sprint to the finish after the Cougars had closed to 40-33 with 3:21 to play.
The Braves, who have only lost to top-ranked Cleveland (twice) and 4A Inglemoor, held the Cougars under 40 points for the second time.
“You can put this one squarely on my shoulders,” Holy Names coach Rhonda Smith said. “They’ve clearly had our number.”
Holy Names (18-6) was led by Camariah King (18) and Cici West (13).