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Timberwolf girls fall short

by Joel Donofrio
| December 29, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d’ALENE — A second-half rally by Lake City fell short as Seattle-area power Federal Way remained unbeaten with a 57-49 win in the quarterfinals of the Holiday Inn Express Invitational.

Still, both coaches got what they wanted.

The Eagles (6-0) had their sternest test of the season, while Lake City proved it could play against Washington’s top-ranked Class 4A team.

“They made us play faster than we wanted, but we were getting used to it by the second half,” Timberwolves coach Royce Johnston said. “To have a chance to win, to be within 3 points in the final minute against a team like that, I’m pleased with our effort.”

Lake City (9-2), playing its first game without injured point guard Jasmyn Smith, tried to slow Federal Way down with its 2-3 zone. And for the first quarter, the ploy worked.

A 3-pointer and 3-point play by Katie Rowe, combined with tough interior defense, left the two teams tied after one period. The Timberwolves started the next quarter with an Alyssa Kacalek layup to take a 9-7 lead.

That’s when the Eagles turned up the heat on defense, turning nine second-quarter T-Wolves turnovers into easy baskets.

Federal Way also benefitted from the high-post shooting and passing of Talia Watson, a University of Washington signee who had 14 points, nine rebounds, five blocked shots and five steals in the contest.

Watson teamed with Tyshana Burgess (11 points) on the low block to create several high-low layups.

“Talia’s got a complete game, and when those two work together, there’s not a whole lot of big (post players) in our state who can compete with them,” Federal Way coach Danny Graham said.

Watson’s layup put the Eagles ahead 26-15 late in the second quarter, and the Federal Way lead remained at 11 midway through the fourth quarter.

That’s when Sydney Butler and the T-Wolves made their run. Her steal and drive to the basket trimmed the lead to 50-46 with 1:38 remaining. Butler then penetrated and found a wide-open Kacalek for a 3-pointer that made it 52-49 with 1:11 left.

“I’ll tell you what, that point guard (Butler) is good — she can get into the lane and she can finish,” Graham said. “I knew from watching them warm up that we’d have a battle today, and they played us hard all game.”

Butler finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four assists for Lake City, which will face Lapwai in a girls’ consolation game at 10 a.m. today.

Rowe added nine points and 12 rebounds for the T-Wolves, who shot 28 percent (14-for-50) from the field but sank 18-of-22 free throws to stay in the game.

Federal Way 7 19 12 19 — 57

Lake City 7 12 14 16 — 49

FEDERAL WAY — D. Huertas-Vining 9, Watson 14, Benton 9, Belhumeur 7, Ajeto 5, Burgess 11, A. Huertas-Vining 0, Jones 2, Jackson 0.

LAKE CITY — S. Butler 18, Lewis 2, Rowe 9, Ball 6, Mitchell 6, Kerr 3, Kacalek 5, J. Butler 0.

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