The Arizona State commit had 22 points and 12 rebounds as the Wolves held Lewis and Clark at arm's length in a 53-47 win.
TACOMA — Keeli Burton-Oliver is normally calm and composed, rarely riled.
But get her and the Eastlake High School girls basketball team in the Class 4A state championship game with nets and a gold ball on the line.
“Yeah, I was a little more emotional tonight,” Burton-Oliver, an Arizona State University commit, said laughing. “It’s an opportunity you don’t get very often. I wanted to put everything into it that I could.”
Now Eastlake has its first state girls basketball championship in school history.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Seahawks DE Aldon Smith turns himself in on battery charge and is released on bond
- In the wake of All-American Zion Tupuola-Fetui's torn Achilles, where does Washington's pass rush go from here?
- Observations from the UW Huskies' ninth practice of the spring
- Scott Servais 'concerned' that Mariners won't meet MLB threshold after COVID-19 vaccine offered to players, staff
- Veteran cornerback Pierre Desir agrees to one-year deal with Seahawks
Burton-Oliver was the no-doubt Class 4A tournament MVP, leading the eighth-ranked Wolves run with 22 points and 12 rebounds in a 53-47 win over No. 3 Lewis and Clark on Saturday night in the Tacoma Dome.
Burton-Oliver’s corner three-pointer was the dagger. Most of her work was spent punishing teams inside, but the junior swished that three with 3:41 remaining to push Eastlake’s lead to 48-38, and the crowd began chanting her name.
This was one year after she and her teammates lost to Woodinville in overtime in last year’s state semifinals. Burton-Oliver went to work this offseason to make sure that wouldn’t happen again.
“I sent her future college coaches a text when we got back from California (after Dec. 29) that she is playing next level. She’s absolutely playing next level,” Eastlake coach Sara Goldie said.
Eastlake might as well have put a straitjacket on Lewis and Clark’s shooters. One day after the Tigers barraged No. 2 Kentridge in the semifinals by shooting 51 percent from the floor (and 62.5 percent from the three-point line), Eastlake held them to 33.3 percent (18-for-54) shooting.
But Eastlake’s lead was cut to 26-25 on Jacinta Buckley’s bucket midway through the third quarter. Burton-Oliver scored six consecutive points, first on a putback, and Haley Huard added another before Callie Lind’s three-pointer.
Huard, the sophomore daughter of former Edmonds-Woodway and UW star Molly Huard and former Puyallup, UW and NFL quarterback Brock Huard, scored nine points with five rebounds one night after going for 21 points.
Eastlake took a 39-32 lead into the fourth quarter before Lind sank a teardrop jumper and Burton-Oliver’s three gave them their largest lead with less than four minutes to play.
“We just played them straight up,” said Eastlake senior post Mae Bryant, who had just finished hugging and taking pictures with her brother, University of Washington tight end Hunter Bryant.
“We had some good defensive players, and we put them on their shooters,” Bryant continued. “We didn’t let them shoot and had hands in their faces and get rebounds.”
Bryant defended Buckley for most of the game, who was held to eight points on 4 of 18 shooting, though she had 18 rebounds. Bryant scored 10 points with six rebounds and Lind added 12 points.
Eastlake’s bread and butter all season was commanding the paint with Burton-Oliver and Bryant, and that was no different this state tournament.
“I love playing with Mae,” Burton-Oliver said. “If you miss anything she gets the rebound, and we pass it to each other. We just have great chemistry.”
“I haven’t played with a big like her ever,” Bryant said. “It’s crazy to have a girl like her on my team. I’m blessed to have played with her.”