The Wolves get a spot in the state quarterfinals and make the top-seeded Falcons play a loser-game Wednesday.
Of course Eastlake would be playing Woodinville. Keeli Burton-Oliver wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“We’ve been waiting and waiting,” said Eastlake’s 6-foot-3 junior, who is verbally committed to Arizona State University. “We owed them.”
And she might have been the least-shocked person in Issaquah High School’s gymnasium when sixth-seeded Eastlake celebrated a 63-54 win over No. 1 Woodinville on Friday night to secure a bye into the Class 4A state quarterfinals in the Tacoma Dome next week.
Woodinville (23-3) isn’t out, but it heads to a first-round matchup in the Tacoma Dome on Wednesday against the winner of Saturday’s matchup between Sunnyside and Newport of Bellevue. And if the top-ranked Falcons plan on taking home a state championship, they’d have to win four games in four days.
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But Friday night was all about sweet vengeance for Eastlake, which lost to Woodinville in overtime in last year’s semifinals in the Dome.
This was actually their third meeting this year. Eastlake won the first matchup in OT, but Woodinville won earlier this month, 73-59.
“We have been playing this team forever,” said Burton-Oliver, who scored a game-high 28 points. “We know this team so well, and we’ve been waiting to get our revenge, especially after what happened last year.
“We were devastated after that loss to Woodinville in state. I think we just came in with the mindset today of we owed them one, and we pushed and pushed and gave it all we had.”
Burton-Oliver and 6-foot senior Mae Bryant controlled the paint just about all game for Eastlake. Bryant finished with 20 points.
And Woodinville never found a rhythm. Eastlake jumped to a 7-0 lead with the Falcons turning it over three times on their first four possessions. Shortly after it was 14-4.
Woodinville coach Scott Bullock rarely sees his squad turn it over 10 times in a whole game, and the Falcons had that many in the first half.
Bryant’s bucket with 3:18 remaining in the third quarter pushed Eastlake’s lead to 20 points. It took Woodinville almost six minutes into the second half to score its first basket, though sophomore standout Mia Hughes scored a team-high 24 points.
“What can you say? Our last three or four games had been our best games of the year,” Bullock said. “Credit to Eastlake. They know us so well, and they beat us and beat us on the boards today. It’s not just that they have one big inside player. They have two and that makes it extra difficult.”
Eastlake coach Sara Goldie said she orchestrated a team meeting Thursday to address the elephant in their room.
“We said, ‘Hey, let’s just talk about who we are playing a little bit,’ ” Goldie said. “And us coaches just gathered their insight and how they see the team as player. We were able to take all that information and switch matchups a little bit and tweak a few tiny things. And it worked out great.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen — the eight seed (RPI) beating the one. But we just took the challenge straight on.”