The top-ranked Wolverines play Lynnwood Friday at 5:30. This time, Bellevue expects to get to the title game after stumbling the previous two years, both times to eventual-champion Cleveland.
TACOMA — Same start, different finish?
That’s the plan for the Bellevue girls basketball team.
The top-ranked Wolverines (25-3) are in the 3A state semifinals for the third year in a row after a 51-39 victory over No. 10 Prairie on Thursday in the Tacoma Dome. They play No. 2 Lynnwood (23-2) Friday at 5:30 p.m.
This time, Bellevue expects to get to the title game after stumbling the previous two years, both times to eventual-champion Cleveland.
“Something feels different this year,” coach Leah Krautter said. “We feel like we can go win the state title.”
State Hoops 2015Boys:
- 3A, 4A boys team capsules
- Boys brackets
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- Davis edges Richland, plays Woodinville in 4A boys semis
- Woodinville doesn't flinch, rallies for 4A quarterfinal win over Kentwood
- 3A, 4A girls team capsules
- Girls brackets
- Gonzaga Prep knocks off Bothell in 4A state girls quarterfinal
- Bellevue beats Prairie big, in 3A girls semis for third year in a row
- Inglemoor's bigs smother Bellarmine Prep in 4A girls quarterfinals
- Lynnwood on point defensively in 3A girls quarterfinal win vs. West Seattle
- Jadyn Bush, Lily Dipietro lead Blanchet into 3A girls semis
- Jayde Christopher keys Cleveland comeback in 3A girls quarterfinal
The Wolverines are so confident, in fact, they’re wearing T-shirts with a Tacoma Dome graphic that says “Our House” on the back. Nine players return from the team of last year, and several of those are third-year veterans — like 6-foot-1 junior Shelby Cansler, who poured in 16 of her 21 points in the second half as Bellevue pulled away from Prairie.
“I feel like this year more than ever we’re very confident we can take the title,” Cansler said.
Bellevue certainly looked the part early, racing to leads of 13-3 and 22-10, but the Falcons (19-7) wouldn’t go away. They trailed by just eight points early in the fourth quarter before Cansler drained a three-pointer to start an 8-3 run.
She said the team’s confidence never wavered, but agreed the shot was key.
“We never really felt in jeopardy,” Cansler said. “We knew we could pull it out. Yeah, it was definitely closer than we would have liked it to be, but that (basket) really got us going.”
Cansler, who also had nine rebounds and five steals, made just one field goal in the first half but took advantage of a man defense in the second.
“I was happy they went man on us, because then we can let Shelby do her thing,” Krautter said.
Mandy Steward scored 10 of her 14 points in the first half to pick up the slack, helping Bellevue to a 27-20 lead. Tatiana Streun just missed a double-double for the game with nine points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
Prairie made just 3 of 24 three-pointers and shot less than 25 percent from the field overall. Lindsay Asplund and Cherita Daugherty scored 15 apiece, and Daugherty added 10 rebounds.
“We just didn’t shoot,” coach Brett Johnson said.
The Falcons also turned the ball over 20 times.
Bellevue has not lost to a 3A team this season, falling to 4A state qualifiers Beamer, Bothell and Inglemoor in the first half of the season. The Wolverines have won 17 in a row, and Krautter is especially enjoying the Tacoma Dome experience.
She was in the hospital during Bellevue’s opening victory last year, which tipped off about five hours after the birth of her son, Emmett.
“It’s really good to be back, and I’m so happy to be part of it this year,” Krautter said.