The Bonney Lake High girls find themselves just one game away from their first state tournament appearance after a 70-50 Class 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament win over the Lindbergh Eagles Friday at Clover Park High in Lakewood.
The Panthers play Hazen at 8 p.m. Friday at Clover Park. The winner will face the Enumclaw-Auburn Mountainview winner at 4 p.m. Saturday for the No. 4 and 6 seeds to the March 11-14 state tournament in Tacoma.
Marcel Pounds scored 17 of the Panthers’ 26 first-period points, hitting five 3-pointers. She finished the game with 27 points.
A jumper by Emily McCoy and a free throw and 3-pointer by Pounds gave Bonney Lake a 7-0 lead and the team built a 14-5 margin on Pounds’ second 3-point basket of the game with 4:40 remaining in the opening period.
“We knew we were going to face the zone,” said Panther coach Tom Ostrander. “We hit some shots and forced them to change their defense against us.”
Lindbergh, behind 6-foot-2 Marcia McMillian’s team-high 27 points, cut the margin by four, 17-13. But Pounds drilled two more 3-point buckets as the Panthers closed out the period with a 26-16 advantage.
While Pounds was hot from the floor, she also had the task of defending the taller McMillian most of the game.
“When McMillian was on the perimeter, our post could go out there and guard her,” Ostrander said. “We put Marcel guarding her, then when she posted her up, we’d double down on her with a match-up zone.”
Both teams slowed the pace in the second period as the Eagles outscored Bonney Lake, 12-10. The Panthers took a 36-28 lead into intermission.
Lindbergh started off the third period with a pair of 3-pointers, sandwiched around a pair of BL free throws, to pull within four, 38-34. Pounds came up with a steal then assisted on Rochelle Murray’s layup.
The Eagles answered with a long jumper by McMillian and that was as close as they would get to Bonney Lake. The Panthers’Rani Wiegand scored off an offensive rebound for a 42-36 lead.
Brittany Kennedy came off the bench and scored eight points including a pair of 3-point baskets late in the third. Her final points of the game gave the Panthers a 13-point cushion, 56-43.
“Our girls stepped up their defense in the second half,” Ostrander said.
Pounds hit her sixth 3-pointer in the fourth and scored off a steal and added a free throw to close out the scoring.
In first-round action Feb. 25, the Panthers fell to the Yelm Tornadoes 60-50 at Clover Park.
Yelm jumped out to an early 15-8 lead and built a 13-point margin with 4:05 left in the second period. After the Tornadoes missed a pair of free throws, Bonney Lake went on a 10-1 run. Pounds started off the run with a layup and was fouled. She completed the 3-point play, then Rani Wiegand scored six of her game-high 18 points.
Cheyann Clark cut the Yelm margin by four at halftime, 25-21, as she hit a layup and added a free throw after being fouled.
For most of the third period, Bonney Lake trailed by seven points. Wiegand picked up her fourth personal foul with 2:22 left in the period, but Emily McCoy came off the bench and scored five points, including a long jumper near the top of the key and she was fouled. She completed the 3-point play to end the period.
Rochelle Murray’s free throw closed the Tornadoes’ gap by three, 37-34, to begin the fourth.
Wiegand, who came back in the fourth, scored off a short jumper, but Yelm answered with a 3-point basket from the corner. Wiegand went inside for a layup before Yelm called a timeout with five minutes left in the game.
After the timeout, Yelm completed a 3-point play and added a 3-pointer for a 10-point margin with less than four minutes remaining.
Bonney Lake manage to trim the Tornado lead by seven on Murray’s layup off a steal. Yelm answered with a basket off a Panther turnover and added three free throws in the final minute.
Pounds chipped in 14 points and Murray added 11 for the Panthers.
Reach Dannie Oliveaux at email@example.com or 360-820-8209.