Issaquah overcomes jitters, Woodinville, 70-56 / Girls Basketball
Fifth-ranked Issaquah overcame first-game jitters and rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat No. 7 Woodinville in the KingCo 4A opener for both schools.
Special to The Seattle Times
WOODINVILLE — Kathy Gibson fully expected it. She had to wince a few times and even turn and look away.
The coach knew she'd see some first-game jitters from her fifth-ranked Issaquah girls basketball team in the season opener.
She just didn't think the Eagles would make so many mistakes early.
Good thing they had time to make things right.
Sabrina Norton, a junior transfer from Santa Monica, Calif., served notice with 19 points and eight rebounds as Issaquah turned the tide on seventh-ranked Woodinville for a 70-56 win Wednesday night in a KingCo 4A opener.
The Eagles dug themselves out of a 14-point hole early in the second quarter, going on an 8-2 run to open the second half. After trailing 21-7 early in the second, the Eagles suddenly found themselves on top 55-42 early in the fourth.
"It was a first game, you could just tell," said Gibson, whose team committed 10 turnovers in the first quarter.
"Things were a little bit out of sync the whole game long, but in the second half things were a little bit better. As the season goes along, we'll smooth things out.
"But we had three turnovers in the first 45 seconds. I've seen that over and over and over in first games."
It looked like the Falcons might run away early on, but the fouls began to mount and 6-foot-1 junior Ali Forde already had three fouls with 2:29 left in the first half.
Issaquah's Maddey Pflaumer, who finished with 12 points, sat much of the first half in foul trouble, but perked up with 10 points in the opening 4:21 of the second half.
"The first half, I know we were all just so excited for the first game, and to open against Woodinville, who we knew would be a really good test," said Issaquah senior guard Blaire Brady, who had 14 points and seven rebounds. "We all just came out a little nervous, but it was good to get that out of the way. "In the second half, we came back as a team and played together."
Woodinville's 6-1 senior, Melissa Gilkey, had 19 points, including 11 in the first half. Forde finished with 13.
Both teams battled turnovers and foul trouble with inside players all game long. The 5-foot-10 Norton was the lone inside player to stay free of fouls for both teams and it showed in her contributions.
"She brings a lot to the team," said Brady. "We knew we were getting something special from summer league, but we didn't know exactly what we were getting. She's a great person on and off the court, and we're really happy to have her."
Taryn Holmes scored 11 of her 13 points for the Eagles in the first half. She drilled a pair of three-pointers before halftime.
Issaquah, sixth at state last season with seven seniors back, overcame 15 turnovers.
Said Brady: "I know myself, I turned it over several times. It was uncharacteristic of our team, but we got that out of the way."