The No. 12 Roughriders haven't been to state in 15 years. In their first game back, they upended No. 5 Peninsula, 60-56.
TACOMA — It’s been 15 years since the 12th-ranked Roosevelt girls basketball team has played on the big stage in the Tacoma Dome, but that had no impact on the Roughriders ability to close in a 60-56 win over fifth-ranked Peninsula in a Class 3A loser-out game on Wednesday.
With a two-point lead and 16 seconds to play, sophomore Katie Thiers drove the lane, scored and drew a foul to give Roosevelt (19-7) a 58-54 lead. Thiers missed the free throw, but the four-point lead was too much for the Seahawks (18-6) to overcome.
“Right when the whistle blew, I was like, ‘Oh no, I got a charge. They’re going to get the ball,’ ” Thiers said. “Right when (the official) gave me the two points, it was just an energy changer. We just knew we had what it takes to finish this game.”
Thiers finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds and shot 6 for 10 from the field.
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“She’s been a key piece all year long,” Roosevelt coach Jasen Thomas said. “It’s just difficult, because as we grow as a team, we’ve always had smalls. So now, all of the sudden we’ve got a big kid that is athletic and can move and it’s been kind of hard to find her. She’s just a sophomore, so it’s just growing pains. She always been a huge part.”
Peninsula senior Belle Frazier thought the call that sent Thiers to the line could’ve gone the other way.
“Renne (Doss) took the best charge of the game, but we just didn’t get that call,” Frazier said. “That was a huge turning point for us.”
Frazier, who finished with a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds, was fouled with 2.7 seconds left with her team still trailing 58-54. Frazier made both free throws, but on the subsequent inbounds pass after a timeout, senior Karmelah Dean got behind the defense and Thiers found her for a layup as time expired.
“Initially, our coach called it (in the timeout) and both Karmelah and I were like, ‘OK, that’s kind of risky, we’re not really trying to score, we’re just trying to finish the game,’ ” Thiers said. “In the end, we just had to trust our coach and be like, ‘OK, it’s going to be open.’ ”
Dean led all scorers with 28 points, including shooting 3 for 4 from long range.
“Senior leader,” Thomas said. “That’s just senior leadership. She was calm and composed the whole time. She was positive with all her teammates, and talking to them through the whole game.”
Thiers echoed her coach’s comments about Dean.
“She is amazing,” Thiers said. “She is our energy starter. She really gets everything going. When we’re having a bad game, we can always count on her to pull us all the way through.”
The Seahawks shot just 19 for 50 from the field, including going 0 for 12 from three-point range. In a game where neither team led by more than seven points, the Seahawks’ poor shooting played a big role in the Roughriders getting the win.
“It’s 2019, man, everybody wants to shoot the three-ball, whether they’re going to make it or not,” Thomas said. “I’m just trying to get them to guard the (three-point) line. They got some layups early, and I was like, ‘OK, cool. We can live with that as long as we contest them a little bit.’ But we just wanted to keep them off that line.”