It was déjà vu all over again, even if it wasn’t Deja Strother all over again.
Led by the 14 points from Alex Hagen, the Inglemoor Vikings defeated the Woodinville Lady Falcons57-39 last Friday night in KingCo tournament play. It marked the third time in a row this season that Inglemoor has beaten their longtime rival.
In the first two games, Viking center Deja Strother was the dominant force in the middle that made all the difference. This time around, the swarming Falcon defense double teamed the low post and kept the 6’4" Strother in check with 9 points. But it was Woodinville’s woeful shooting that sealed the Falcons’ fate in this frustrating loss at Juanita High School Feb. 15th.
"They played a zone the whole game and you’ve got to hit some outside shots to pull them out a little bit," Woodinville coach Scott Bullock said. "Unfortunately we didn’t shoot well from the outside. At halftime we were down 22-13 and we were pretty excited about how we played defensively. We didn’t give Strother anything easy inside. We worked a lot all week on doubling down in the post and keeping that stuff out of there. I thought we did a great job (defensively) but you’ve got to score some points to win.
"In the first half it was our game to take, but we didn’t put the ball in the bucket."
Woodinville started the game with plenty of spit and vinegar.
They full court pressed, ball hawked at every turn and passed the ball aggressively on offense. When shots fell, the Woodinville bench jumped to its collective feet in eruptions of cheering. After one quarter of play, the score was Inglemoor 9, Woodinville 8.
But in the second quarter, Woodinville had no less than 5 eminently makeable shots that missed the mark. Those fruitless possessions gave the Lady Vikings the chance they needed to take control of the game. By the end of the third quarter, the Vikings were on cruise control with a 41-20 advantage.
"Inglemoor was collapsing the middle, but once the ball got inside we needed to kick it out more and faster to get those open shots," Woodinville’s Madison Ramirez said. "But they played some good defense and we didn’t make our shots, mostly. In their zone they’re very aggressive up top which makes it hard to move the ball around."
Shots started dropping for the Falcons in the fourth, enabling Woodinville to win the final stanza 19-16. But it was a case of too little, too late.
Inglemoor now advances in the tourney to play Newport. Woodinville will next play Bothell on Tuesday night at Juanita High School.
In order for the Lady Falcons to advance to the State tournament, they must win three consecutive games: They must beat Bothell, win the KingCo 3rd Place game on 2/21, and then defeat the Wesco’s 3rd place team on 2/22.
"We can’t be down right now," Woodinville’s Erin Hamilton said. "We have to want it."