In a matchup of 16-0 teams, West Seattle’s Lydia Giomi produces 14 points and 20 rebounds in a 44-30 Metro League victory.
A showdown between the final two undefeated teams in Metro turned into a defensive struggle.
No. 4 West Seattle was slightly more smothering. A relentless rebounding effort sparked by Lydia Giomi helped, too, as the Wildcats earned a 44-30 win over No. 3 Bishop Blanchet.
For a while, the Wildcats were on the brink of a runaway. They opened up an early 16-6 lead, and stretched their advantage to as large as 17 points during the second half.
The Braves (11-1 Metro, 16-1 overall) rallied late, cutting the lead to eight in the final minute. But it wasn’t enough, and West Seattle (12-0, 17-0) firmly established itself as the league’s team to beat.
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Giomi finished with 14 points and 20 rebounds, both game-high figures, and Lexi Ioane had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Coming in, Wildcats coach Darnell Taylor said his team didn’t bother pretending this was just another game.
“We approached it as what it was,” Taylor said. “Two 16-0 teams going at it.”
Bishop Blanchet senior Jadyn Bush entered the game as the leading scorer in Metro. But she spent most of the night in foul trouble, forcing the Braves out of their game plan.
“She’s our leader,” Blanchet coach Greg Bruns said. “She’s averaging almost 20 points a game. Not to have her out there really had an impact on the team.”
In her absence, the Braves’ offense struggled to find points against the feisty Wildcats. West Seattle led 13-6 after the first quarter, then promptly took a double-digit lead early in the second with a three-pointer from Izzy Turk.
Turk finished with 10 points and was one of a handful of Wildcats who made sure Blanchet had to divert its defensive efforts away from Giomi, the reigning Metro MVP.
“I knew they would key on Lydia,” Taylor said. “Ioane stepped up for us, and Jenna McPhee played some amazing defense.”
The freshman point guard had a role on offense, too; a three-pointer by McPhee late in the third quarter gave West Seattle a 31-18 lead, at that point its largest lead.
Even when Turk hit three free throws to make it a 38-21 game, however, West Seattle kept its guard up.
“We never felt like we completely got away from them,” Ioane said. “They’re a tough team.”
Bush scored all six of her points in the fourth as the Braves sliced the lead in half, but the comeback was short. Taylor Chambers scored a team-high 11 points.