Cici West wanted to keep it simple.
Gearing up for what has turned into a good girls basketball rivalry between Holy Names and West Seattle, West kept her usual approach.
“I felt like I had to play my game, get out there, play hard and play Holy Names basketball,” she said. “And essentially what Holy Names basketball is is working hard 100 percent of the time, doing your best and giving what you can give your team.”
What the 5-foot-11 senior gave the fifth-ranked Cougars on Friday night was a stellar effort at both ends of the court. She poured in 17 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to key a 63-48 Metro League victory. It was especially impressive considering she was often matched against 6-foot-5 sophomore Lydia Giomi, who wound up fouling out with just under two minutes to play.
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Casey Pelz, a 5-foot-10 junior, also played big with 20 rebounds and eight points.
“I went in thinking rebounding would be a key,” she said. “I put my mind on rebounding, then just when out and did it.”
It was a wild game that saw the Cougars (13-1, 9-1 Mountain Division) open up a 17-point lead in the second quarter then watch it dwindle to two in the fourth before pulling back away.
West Seattle (9-4, 6-2 Sound Divison) came in riding an eight-game win streak after starting the season 1-3, including losses in Spokane to 4A powers Gonzaga Prep and Mead.
And the Wildcats, coming off their best season in years, had the added confidence of beating Holy Names for the first time in last year’s playoffs — plus getting two summer league victories.
But they looked nothing like that team for the first 10 ½ minutes, falling into a 21-7 hole with countless turnovers and missed shots.
“We weren’t playing our kind of basketball,” coach Sonya Elliott said. “We shouldn’t be nervous. We beat them before so we know we can, but there are games like that. But that run that we had (in the fourth quarter), that’s the kind of basketball we usually play.”
The 12-0 run cut Holy Names’ lead to 47-45 with 3:49 to play, but the Cougars closed the game on a 16-3 spurt. Free throws were a key all game as they hit 20 of 28, compared to 10 of 15 for West Seattle.
Camariah King and Janessa Willie helped fuel the offense with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Lexi Ioane led the Wildcats with 17 points, 13 in the second half, while Charli Elliott had 13 and Gabby Sarver 10.