TACOMA – The goal was to get back and do more damage.
Unfortunately, for the second season in a row, the Mercer Island High School girls basketball team got the experience but not the desired outcome at the Class 3A state tournament.
Mercer Island never got on track offensively, falling 48-41 to University of Spokane in Friday’s consolation, loser-out game at the Tacoma Dome.
“We’ve definitely had our ups and downs and we haven’t been the most consistent team,” said MI coach Austin Yuen, who was acting head coach late in the season with his wife, Kaela, giving birth to a baby on Sunday.
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Mercer Island finished 16-12 this season.
MI closed within 44-41 on Jamie Mounger’s free throw with 52.9 seconds left, but the Titans sank 6 of 6 free throws in the final 36 seconds to finish it. The Islanders shot 9 of 31 (29 percent) from the field.
University (11-15) moves on to play fourth-ranked Sunnyside (22-4) in the game for fourth-sixth places on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
Taylor Krause led MI with nine points and nine rebounds.
Sunnyside 67, Lincoln 54
Just being back in the tournament for the first time since 2002 wasn’t enough for the Grizzlies.
They rebounded from Thursday’s close quarterfinal loss to No. 5 Bellevue to clinch a trophy.
“It was just important for us, to be able to come in and win this game,” coach Rick Puente said. “Getting some hardware. We weren’t ready to go home.”
Win or lose Saturday, the Grizzlies will at least match their best-ever finish – sixth place in 1991. They were eighth in 1990, their only other trophy.
And with one senior on the roster, Sunnyside could be back in Tacoma for another title run next season, although the school moves to Class 4A.
Freshman Emilee Maldonado was one of three Sunnyside players in double figures with 19, hitting 3 of 4 three-pointers. Junior Natalia Bazan finished with 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting, while junior Jordan Rodriguez supplied 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Look for Lincoln next year, too. The Abes (20-7), who qualified for only the second time since 1998 (they were here in 2006), brought just two seniors and got a game-high 25 points from 6-2 sophomore Tamia Braggs.
Staff writer Sandy Ringer
contributed to this report.