Friday wasn’t exactly the birthday Marvin Hall had in mind. But with three starters sidelined and a fourth limited because of injury the Garfield girls basketball coach will celebrate any sort of win.
“The last four games we’ve kind of been on fumes,” Hall said after his top-ranked Bulldogs held off No. 10 Lakeside 57-48 in a Metro League contest.
The visiting Lions (8-3, 6-2 Metro) became the first team in Washington not to lose by double digits to Garfield (9-4, 9-0), which had been beating up on Metro League opponents by an average of 34.5 points a game.
Lakeside never trailed this one by more than nine points, and the Lions actually led at the half, 26-23, on the strength of Elise Koh’s three-pointer with three seconds left in the second quarter.
“When they’re missing a few, you have two choices,” Lakeside coach Mia Fisher said. “You can choose to play down to that level, or you can take it as an opportunity. And their group over there is still pretty good, even with kids out. They’re not No. 2 or 3 in the state for nothing.”
Playing minus starters Dalayah Daniels (the five-star California recruit), Kareyna Taylor and Cari Davis (who are all expected back soon), Hall needed others to step up. Freshman Navaeh Talbert did just that.
Talbert scored a game-high 19 points in her first start, including seven in the third quarter when the Bulldogs turned that halftime deficit into a 39-34 lead going into the fourth quarter.
“When we were getting dressed and there were only eight of us, I was like, ‘Dang, this is going to be a rough one,'” Talbert said. “I just had to step up.”
By the half, those who could play, felt the fire.
“We’re used to being the team leading, blowing people out,” Talbert said. “This was a lesson to be learned. We had to go back out there and show them who we really are.”
Along with Talbert, junior center Desiree Lane went to work in the decisive third. Lane, one of two starters in the lineup, was limited due to an ankle injury of her own. But she scored all 11 of her points after the break to turn things around.
Garfield’s only truly healthy starter, Meghan Fiso, had 18 points.
“This was almost a blessing,” Hall said. “It was good for the kids that normally don’t play because they have to step up and play. This way, they’ll be battled-tested when we get a little further along, get to the Tacoma Dome, and we won’t have a lag (when substituting).”
Talbert shared game-high scoring honors with Lakeside’s Claire O’Connor, also a freshman, who scored six of her 19 for the Lions in the second quarter when Lakeside turned a 13-10 deficit after one period into that 26-23 advantage.
O’Connor also scored the first point of the third quarter for Lakeside, helping to keep a lead until Talbert drained a three-pointer with 5:04 left that put Garfield back in front for good, 28-27. Lane’s shot in the key with 2:54 left in the third extended the margin to 34-29, and the Bulldogs never led by less than five the rest of the night.