KIRKLAND — The Juanita High School gym was packed Friday night as anticipation built for the KingCo 4A championship game. It was the rubber match between the top two teams in the league, Garfield and Issaquah.
Then the ball was tipped.
Garfield left little doubt about the outcome as it raced out to a double-digit lead before Issaquah was able to hit its second field goal, pulling away for an 83-65 win.
The No. 1 Bulldogs (23-1) stifled the Eagles (17-6) with an aggressive man defense that forced Issaquah players to catch the ball more than 20 feet from the basket with their back to the hoop.
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“Hats off to my team for executing the game plan,” Garfield coach Ed Haskins said. “Really, it’s a tough team. Hard to beat Garfield when Garfield plays like this.”
As it often does, the defense led to offensive run outs and Garfield had easy looks on offense. A 38-24 halftime lead ballooned to a 28-point advantage late in the third quarter, as the Bulldogs didn’t let up.
The win avenges Garfield’s lone loss of the season, when Issaquah used a late jumper to knock off the Bulldogs.
Tramaine Isabell led a balanced scoring attack with 24 points, while Brayon Blake and Jashaun Agosto added 20 and 16, respectively.
Both teams had already advanced to next week’s regional round of the postseason and were playing for seeding purposes.
Inglemoor 47, Newport 46
Too many times a playoff game is decided by missed free throws. On Friday, Mackenzie Gardner used the foul line to her advantage to help propel Inglemoor.
“My goodness, that little kid has ice water in her veins,” Inglemoor coach John Augustavo said. “They’re the most important thing in the world and I wanted the ball in her hands because I knew she’d probably make both.”
Gardner’s five free throws in the final minute was just enough as the Vikings staved off Newport for a 47-46 win at Juanita High School to capture the KingCo 4A girls championship.
Abbi Gobel hit a trio of three-pointers and a pair of free throws for Newport to open the fourth quarter and cut a 10-point deficit to 42-41 with minutes left to play. Gardner responded with four straight free throws and then hit another with four seconds left to give Inglemoor a four-point lead. The free throw would prove critical as Anna Crabtree hit a desperation heave from half court at the final buzzer.
Deja Strother scored 15 points to lead the Vikings, while Gobel had 17 for the Knights. Both teams are already guaranteed regional berths.