The Bulldogs, who made it to the title game last year, get the first-round bye with a 58-29 win over the Panthers.
In the end, the Bulldogs’ defensive pressure was too much for Seattle Prep to handle.
As the sixth-seeded Panthers have done twice before this season, it lost to the third-seeded Bulldogs 58-29 in a Class 3A girls regional game at Issaquah High on Saturday night.
“They’re really good at pressuring you and making you speed up,” Prep coach Brian Elsner said. “We panicked a little bit. We’ve done well against a lot of different teams, but Garfield’s pressure gives us particular issue — it’s given a lot of teams issue this year.”
Garfield (22-2), which is undefeated against teams in Washington state, outscored Prep 22-2 in the third quarter to bury the Panthers. That was after forcing 11 turnovers in the opening half.
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Prep junior Marie Hauck scored her team’s sole bucket in the third quarter, a jumper with 2:16 on the clock. Garfield forward Dalayah Daniels, the Metro League’s MVP, responded with a layin to make the score 40-17.
Daniels finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Senior guard Sam Tolliver led the Bulldogs with 15 points while junior guard Sahcari Davis added 10 points.
Prep sophomore forward Tamia Stricklin led her team with nine points.
“I’m proud of our whole entire team for our defense,” Daniels said.
With the win, Garfield earned the bye into the Class 3A state tournament quarterfinals at the Tacoma Dome next week. It will play the winner of Wednesday’s game between No. 12 seed Roosevelt and fifth-seeded Peninsula.
Seattle Prep (19-5) will play No. 11 seed Snohomish at 9 a.m. on Wednesday in a loser-out game.
Garfield is the defending state runner-up. Because of a regional-round loss to West Seattle last year, the Bulldogs had to win three straight games to get to the championship matchup with Gig Harbor. Garfield lost 51-48.
“Last year was really hard because we had to fight our way into state,” Tolliver said. “We were playing all hard teams from the get-go. This year, this (should) be easier because we’re a higher seed. This bye means a lot to us. We get to relax and stuff.”
But come game time, don’t expect the defensive pressure to let up.