Lakeside made the State 2A championship game its personal senior night.
Seniors Brianne Jolley, Linsey Heebink and Janel Long went out with a bang Saturday as the Eagles buried Connell 53-36 for their first girls basketball title.
Heebink scored a team-high 13 points, Long added a career-best 12 points, and Jolley added 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds as Lakeside reached the pinnacle in its fifth consecutive state-tourney appearance.
Lakeside had placed third, sixth and seventh in the last three State A tournaments, all with Jolley in the lineup.
“I think we learned from last year,” said Eagles coach Lisa Schultz. “That loss to King’s in the semifinals helped make us champs this year.”
The Eagles (25-1) ended their year with 24 consecutive wins while snapping the 18-game streak of Connell (23-4).
Lakeside, an 8-year-old school with seven years of varsity experience, won its second state title in a girls sport and fourth overall. The girls tennis team won a state crown in 1993.
“I just think all the hard work we put into it finally paid off,” said Heebink, who teamed with sophomore Julia Vojtech for 15 first-half points to lift Lakeside to a 28-12 lead.
“All of the seniors have worked at it for years,” said Vojtech, who had back-to-back steals and layups early in the second quarter to begin the rout. “It’s just my first year, but it’s an awesome feeling.”
Added junior Nikki Petticrew, whose 10 rebounds and five assists set up the big scorers, “I hope we don’t wake up.”
Connell, also the Eagles, didn’t wake up until most Lakeside starters had exited early in the fourth quarter. Connell scored the game’s final 14 points to make the final look respectable.
Both teams slumbered during the first quarter. Connell’s Charie Freeman hit a 3-pointer a minute into the game, then the Eagles were scoreless for 9:30.
Lakeside missed its first nine 3-point attempts, but still managed scoring streaks of 14-0 and 22-4 to settle matters early.
“I was worried about Connell’s defense and perimeter shooting,” Schultz said. “We were fortunate they weren’t hitting from outside.”
Or from anywhere, for that matter. Connell shot 16 percent from the floor in the first half, 25 percent for the game. Freeman, Christine Smith and Shanae Wood, Connell’s Nos. 2-4 scorers for the year, were a combined 2 for 19 on field-goal attempts.
Connell senior Erica Ewart (17 ppg) scored 22, hitting four 3-pointers.
Jolley, the tournament MVP, finished fourth in tourney scoring, with 66, and third in rebounding, with 39. Petticrew, a second-team, all-tournament pick, had 38 rebounds and 49 points. Vojtech hit 18 of 22 free throws as Lakeside shot 70 percent from the line.
The Eagles were No. 2 in tourney scoring, rebounding and steals.
“This is the most exciting moment of my life in athletics,” said Schultz, formerly All-American point guard Lisa Comstock at Eastern Washington University. “Coaching this group has been special. They’ve given me about everything I’ve asked for.
“They’ve sacrificed a lot to make this dream possible. They’ve chosen basketball as their arena to success.”
Vojtech played with an injured right shoulder that will require surgery. Long played the final game with two sprained fingers.
Jolley will turn up next with Saint Mary’s (Calif.) of the West Coast Conference. Heebink and Ewart will play together at LewisClark State College.
Lakeside 53, Connell 36
Connell 3 9 5 19 - 36
Lakeside 6 22 21 4 - 53
CONNELL - D.Freeman 2, C.Freeman 6, Garcia 2, Clyde 2, Booker 0, Ewart 22, Smith 2, Wood 0, Grassl 0, Davidson 0, H.Taylor 0, C.Ta ylor 0.
LAKESIDE - Nuechterlein 0, Vojtech 8, Giampietri 0, Reome 0, Heebink 13, Petticrew 4, Hamilton 2, Ryan 2, Jolley 10, Grubbs 2, Long 12.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 color photos
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