KENMORE – John Augustavo chose to withhold information.
His Inglemoor girls basketball team rewarded that decision with a dominating performance against visiting Woodinville to win the Kingco Crest Division title, and earn a first-round home game when the league tournament begins next Wednesday.
“I never mentioned to my girls it was for the title,” Augustavo said, after the Vikings 66-50 dismantling in the teams’ final regular-season game. “And I told them a lot of weird stuff could happen if we don’t win.”
Part of that “weird stuff” actually happened several hours before tipoff, when Inglemoor suffered a loss – of a coin flip that would have decided the division title had Woodinville won on Friday and thus the two teams would have ended in a tie.
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That coin flip took place at noon on Friday.
As it is, Inglemoor finished alone atop the Crest with a league mark of 12-2. The Falcons fell to 10-4, and are now locked in as the No. 3 seed to the Kingco tournament.
Woodinville will travel to face Crown Division No. 2 Issaquah on Wednesday. Eastlake leapfrogs the Falcons as the Crest’s second seed, and will host a first-round game.
“Everyone knew if we won this game, we’d get like the second seed (at least),” Woodinville coach Scott Bullock said. He chose to give his team all the information.
What the Falcons didn’t have on Friday were answers for Inglemoor’s size up front.
The Vikings start three girls that stand 6-foot-2, 6-3 and 6-4. On Friday, junior Deja Strother (6-4) and sophomore Kennedy Nicholas (6-3) had their way inside with the Falcons, whose tallest player tops out at 6-1 – reserve post Keenae Tiersma.
“I’m very fortunate,” Augustavo said. “That is our game. We have to use our size.”
Despite the inside advantage, Woodinville did manage to stay with the Vikings – for about the first nine minutes. When Madison Ramirez made the first of her five three-pointers with 7:02 left in the second quarter, the Falcons trailed it just 16-14.
But Woodinville didn’t make another field goal until Gabby Phillips scored with 7:05 left in the third quarter.
After the Ramirez three, Inglemoor outscored Woodinville 21-3 over the rest of the second quarter to take a 37-17 lead at the half.
“We didn’t play well today,” Bullock said. “We’d had four or five good games in a row. This was a bump today. But everyone is 0-0 to start the playoffs. I feel good about playing Issaquah.”
The Vikings, meanwhile, will host the Crown Division No. 4 team. That would be Skyline, if it won on Friday.
“We played Skyline a lot last year,” said Nicholas, who led Inglemoor with 19 points. Strother added 18.
But it was the sophomore Nicholas that stood out on Friday as she scored a career-high.
“She had a great game,” Augustavo said.
Nicholas scored all but two of her game-high (Ramirez also had 19 for Woodinville) in the second and fourth quarters.
“I’m so happy right now,” Nicholas said. “We won Kingco last year, and it would be a big deal to do it two years in a row. We knew it would be very beneficial to be first (in the division).”
Yes, the Vikings were aware even without Augustavo’s telling them that Friday had potential title implications.
What they didn’t know was the outcome of that coin flip, and that a loss would have dropped them to third – and put them on the road for the first round.
“Oh my gosh,” Nicholas said. “I’m so glad we won.”