by Russ Paris, special to the Woodinville Weekly
The Bothell Lady Cougars, district champs, won their opening round of basketball Wednesday at Mercer Arena. Cougar hoopsters demolished Kent-Meridian, 64-29.
The Thursday quarter-final game against Mead (Spokane) was a test for the varsity hoopsters who were in only their second state tournament game in school history and were up against the tournament-decorated team of the '90s.
Mead varsity girls had won state tournament titles in 1990 and 1992. The '96 Panther girls were back on the prowl with a 23-3 win-loss record going into this match-up.
Bothell started quickly and played hard, leading 29-22 at the half. Jen Babin's 21 points and five rebounds took the Cougars to a 13-point lead late into the third quarter. But the pressure of tournament play swung momentum to the more experienced school.
Bothell's lead dropped to nine at the start of the fourth quarter. The Cougar offense was stymied, and Mead brought the score to a 55-55 tie at the end of regulation play. Bothell lost in overtime, 59-70.
The Panthers went on to win the Girl's State AAA Basketball Championship Saturday night at Key Arena against Kamiakin, 44-41.
Bothell finished a great season at 24-5, and will have players like sophomore sensation Becki Ashbaugh back next year. During tournament action, Ashbaugh averaged over 17 points and six assists per game. Bothell's petite 5'5" floor general was named a second team all-tournament player.
The Woodinville Falcon boys varsity basketballers finished the season at 16 wins,10 losses.
The Falcons' final game of the season was a playoff loss to Redmond, keeping them out of the state tournament this week. Redmond went on to defeat Mountainview for fourth place in the state tournament Saturday at Key Arena.