Rachel Shim helped key a second-half rally that propelled the eighth-ranked Spartans to the state quarterfinals.
PUYALLUP — The last time the Skyline girls basketball team reached the state quarterfinals, Rachel Shim was a spectator as a sixth-grader.
The last three seasons, she was hampered by knee injuries, missing most of her sophomore year and playing with a brace as a junior.
This time, she made a difference.
Shim helped fuel a second-half rally to propel the eighth-ranked Spartans past No. 10 Yelm 61-48 in the Class 4A regionals Friday night at Rogers High School.
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Shim finished with 17 points, including 13 in the second half. Skyline (20-5) is in the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2007 and just the third time in school history. The state tournament opens Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.
“Oh my gosh, this is an amazing feeling,” said Shim, who also had five assists. “Just the fact that it’s my senior year, and I get to lead my team and end it this way, is great. I want to help make history for my school and leave a legacy.
“I haven’t been this happy in a long time.”
One more win will give the Spartans their best state finish and eclipse the 2007 squad’s seventh-place showing.
“Girls basketball at Skyline has come a long ways, and it’s been kind of a long time since we’ve been recognized and played at this level,” said fifth-year coach Greg Bruns.
Colorado-bound Haley Smith provided Skyline with 15 points — 10 in the first half — and seven rebounds despite playing most of the second in foul trouble.
The 6-foot-1 Smith and Yelm’s 6-1 Anushka Maldonado dueled much of the night inside. Maldanado had 13 points and six rebounds for the Tornadoes (20-5) before fouling out with 33.5 seconds to go.
Skyline trailed 30-29 before Shim’s ballhawking helped them go ahead with a 5-0 run.
“Rach is a bulldog, and you know you’re going to get that from her each and every game,” said Bruns, whose team forced Yelm into 18 turnovers. “She’s feisty and she showed it. She pushed back when they pushed her. She’s the key. We put her on their best guards.
“The pressure we put on guards over time just wears them down. We got two or three turnovers, and pretty soon the lead was 10.”
An 11-3 run near the end of the third quarter pushed Skyline’s lead to 45-35, and the Spartans hit 8 of 10 free throws over the final 1:31.
Lacey Nicholson added 11 points for Skyline.
Gonzaga Prep 48, Union (Vancouver) 39
The fourth-ranked Bullpups (22-3) opened the fourth quarter with a 9-0 burst, stretching their lead to 44-31.
Otiona Gildon and Laura Stockton, both sophomores, scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, for Gonzaga Prep. Jessica Chatman led Union (18-9) with 13.