Inglemoor guard Kelly Conroy volunteered to defend Skyline's 6-foot-1 Haley Smith and held the Colorado commit to a season-low four points in the Vikings' win.
SAMMAMISH — Kelly Conroy might be one of the shortest players on a tall Inglemoor girls basketball team, but she knows how to play big.
The senior guard, who admits she is closer to 5 feet 8 than the 5-10 she’s listed at in the program, proved that Wednesday while helping the Vikings beat ninth-ranked Skyline, 45-40, in a KingCo 4A showdown.
Conroy volunteered to guard 6-1 Haley Smith and held the Colorado commit to a season-low four points, less than half her average.
“I was up for the challenge,” she said. “She’s a really good player. It was a big, big challenge for me, but I wanted to do it for my team.”
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Deja’ Strother, a 6-4 sophomore, and 6-foot senior Chalayia Fuller also stepped up down the stretch as the Vikings (12-2, 7-2 Crest Division) avoided their third loss in four games.
With the game tied at 39 just inside two minutes to play, Strother nailed an inside bucket just before the shot clock expired for what proved to be the winning basket. She was playing with four fouls.
“The fouls were pretty even, back and forth, and they (referees) were calling good things, so I was just praying that they would either call the foul or I’d put it in,” said Strother, who finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds.
Fuller had not been expected to play as she continued to deal with painful kidney stones and back spasms, but decided just before the game she was going to gut it out. She sank six free throws in the final 2:39 to help seal the victory. The final two came after her offensive rebound with 2.9 seconds on the clock after a teammate missed two at the line.
“I just had to fight through the pain,” she said. “This is a really big game. We wanted it so much and we worked so hard for it, I just wanted to be a part of it.”
The Vikings, once 10-0 and ranked No. 3 in the state, were without coach John Augustavo, who had the flu.
They dominated early, forcing 13 first-quarter turnovers, and were up 16-4 midway through the second period. But the host Spartans (12-4, 8-2 Crown Division) stormed back and led 37-32 with less than four minutes to play. They have lost two of their past three and left coach Greg Bruns shaking his head.
“I just don’t know why we implode at times,” he said.
Skyline failed to score in the final 1:41 following a free throw by Shelby Kassuba, who finished with a game-high 13 points.
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