The 6-foot-2 senior averaged 21.5 points and 11.5 rebounds to earn state tourney MVP and lead the Islanders to their first state girls title.
TACOMA — Scoring has never been a problem for Anna Luce.
Towering over most opponents, the 6-foot-2 senior consistently posted double digits in points through Mercer Island’s girls basketball regular season, averaging 25.7 points per game. For state tournament greatness, however, coach Gillian d’Hondt knew her center needed more oomph.
The message was simple.
Times’ girls All-State team
F, Taya Corosdale, Bothell, 6-3, Sr.
The Oregon State commit averaged 18.7 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. She’ll play in the Jordan Brand Classic game in April.
F, Jadyn Bush, Bishop Blanchet, 5-11, Sr.
The Harvard commit averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game as the Braves reached their first state-title game since 2014.
C, Promise Taylor, Sammamish, 6-5, Sr.
The Ole Miss commit averaged 24 points, 13.4 rebounds and 6.7 blocks per game. She was named the KingCo 2A/3A Defensive Player of the Year.
PG, Te’a Adams, Juanita, 5-9, Sr.
The San Diego State commit averaged 22.7 points and 4.4 assists per game. Adams was an All-KingCo 2A/3A pick after a 15-10 season.
G, Lexie Hull, Central Valley, 6-2, Jr.
The Stanford commit averaged 16.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Central Valley carried a 52-game win streak into state and placed fourth.
Coach: Darnell Taylor, West Seattle
Taylor coached a roster with nine underclassmen to West Seattle’s first SeaKing District championship. The Wildcats lost in the opening round at state.
“Listen, you need to average 16 rebounds or we’re not going to win another game,” d’Hondt recalled telling Luce the eve of the Class 3A state tournament. “Everybody at this level is good now. There’s no easy game, you’re going to have to work for everything.”
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Luce averaged 21.5 points and 11.5 rebounds during the four games at the Tacoma Dome to lead the Islanders to the school’s first girls basketball championship. In four games, Luce’s play outshined what others did over an entire regular season, earning The Seattle Times’ State Player of the Year award.
“She turned it up,” said d’Hondt. “She can compete. She’s proved that over and over the last few seasons. But to be able to do that on the big stage is what she’s been waiting for.”
Luce, who’ll play at Dartmouth in the fall, was named MVP of the Class 3A state girls tournament to pair with her MVP in KingCo 2A/3A. She broke 12 school records, including career points with 1,700.
The Islanders have accepted requests to speak at grade-school girls basketball practices. Their social-media timelines are still filled with congratulatory mentions and Luce was invited to play in two local all-star games. She had to decline playing due to a previously scheduled family vacation.
Speaking a few days after the title win, it was all still a blur.
“It’s a great feeling to know all of your hard work is finally paying off,” Luce said. “It’s pretty much surreal. … It was kind of playing the same game I’ve always played but with a little more confidence than prior years. Knowing that this was my last shot made it more real. It was fun.”
Mercer Island defeated Bishop Blanchet in the title game. It was the teams’ third meeting in three weeks. The Braves had strong post players to hang with Luce, but they wore down by the fourth quarter.
Luce scored 10 of her 21 points in the third quarter of Mercer Island’s 52-47 win against Blanchet, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. Luce also had 10 rebounds and three steals.
The fifth-ranked Islanders (24-6) had never finished better than sixth at state (2010) before this season.
“To have our No. 1 player, who (opponents) are trying to take out of the game, every game, still perform on that stage?” d’Hondt said. “I mean, you know Anna is controlling our game and nobody could shut her down. She went out there and took it to them.”