BELLEVUE — Four players hit for double figures and the Lady Falcons got past a stubborn Rams squad 70-64 at Sammamish High School Saturday night.
“It was a tough game—they gave us all we could handle,” Coach Scott Bullock said. “They are a talented team—have two good guards and really shot the ball well.”
Rodgers played some impressive defense too, giving Woodinville fits with full-court pressure all game long.
“We didn’t handle the press in the backcourt very well, especially in the first half of the game,” Bullock said. “But we did improve in the second half and that made a big difference.”
Pressure on inbound passes following Rams made baskets created nine Woodinville turnovers in the game, which led to a total of 18 points for Rogers.
“We aren’t used to being pressed—not many teams in the KingCo pressed us because when we broke it we were able to run the floor and get some open layups,” Mia Hughes said. “We knew coming in Rogers was going to press us and we still didn’t do a very good job of coming to the ball. It’s really going to be important for us to do that going into State play because teams watch film and they know what your weaknesses are and who your scorers are.”
The game was nip and tuck from the opening tip with neither team holding more than an eight-point lead the entire way.
The Lady Falcons posted an 18-12 score at the end of the first quarter. Veronica Sheffey’s bucket to start the second eight minutes of action made it 20-12 Woodinville.
The Rams' sharpshooters took aim and dialed in a 23-17 run to get within a bucket, 37-35, at the break.
Tatum Thompson converted a lob from Sheffey to open the second-half scoring. Hughes added a basket and Thompson hit for another and the
Lady Falcons led 43-37 midway through the third quarter.
Three consecutive Woodinville turnovers and a five-point outburst by Rams point guard Raigan Barrett put Rogers up top 50-43 with just over two minutes left in the quarter and put the Falcons faithful on upset alert.
Thompson answered back with a bucket and a couple of treys, Sheffey sank a short ‘J’ and Woodinville regained the lead 53-50 as the quarter came to an end.
The Falcons widened the gap to 57-52 on back-to-back scores from Hughes with six minutes left in the game. A free throw and a basket from Barrett made it 57-55 at the three-minute mark.
Woodinville then reeled off a 13-9 run on the strength of six points from Hughes and the Falcons closed it out for the teams' 26th consecutive win this season.
“Tatum hit a couple of big 3s in the third quarter to keep us close—Mia had some clutch buckets underneath in the fourth quarter—it was a great high school game," Bullock said. “We didn’t sub once in the second half—five girls played the whole 16 minutes. They battled the whole way and got it done.”
Hughes led the team with 22 points. She also pulled down 12 rebounds. Sheffey added a double-double 17 points and 12 rebounds. Thompson went 3-for-4 from 3-point range to finish with 15 points. Brooke Beresford sank 6-of-8 shots from the free-throw line and ended up with 10 points in the contest.
The Falcons earn a State first-round bye with the win and will take on the winner of the Bellarmine Prep-Todd Beamer game Thursday morning March 5 at 10:30 a.m. in the Tacoma Dome.
“This is the first time in my three years on the team we’ve gotten a bye at State—we lost in the Regionals to Moses Lake in my first year and then to Eastlake last year,” Hughes,” said. “The extra day of rest is going to be really important for us and we’ll also get to watch some of the other teams we’ll be playing too.”
It’s the fourth consecutive trip to the Big Dance for the Falcons.
The team was handed an early exit by Bellarmine Prep in 2016-17, finished State runner-up to Central Valley in 2017-18 and was bounced out day one of the tournament by Glacier Peak last year.