Prep girls basketball: Holy Names 59, Liberty 53
Coverage from the Rebel Challenge at Juanita High School
Special to The Seattle Times
KIRKLAND — Camariah King and her Holy Names teammates on Saturday faced Liberty, the team that kept them out of the state tournament last year.
The memory of falling short in 2013 still stung and Holy Names, ranked No. 9 in Class 3A, used that bitterness in part to fuel a 59-53 win over the Patriots at the Rebel Challenge at Juanita High School.
Hitting late free throws helped, too, as the Cougars won their sixth straight.
Holy Names makes a late push
The Cougars (6-1 overall) built an 11-point lead by being tougher on the boards, but nearly lost control in the fourth quarter because of poor execution and turnovers against an aggressive pressing Patriots’ defense. King supplied 25 points and helped ice the victory by sinking 4 of 6 free throws in the final 44.8 seconds. Holy Names led 54-43 when Janessa Willie hit 1 of 2 foul shots with 2:55 remaning, but Liberty clawed within four points twice. Avery Granberg got the Pats within 55-51 on two free throws with 1:01 showing and Devin Anderson’s putback off her own free-throw miss cut the gap to 57-53 with 34 seconds to go.
Player of the game
Willie, a 5-foot-8 senior, gave the Cougars toughness inside, and her hustle plays preserved several fourth-quarter possessions against a resilient Liberty (6-2) team.
Keys to the game
Holy Names was the aggressor in the first half, both offensively and defensively, and that led to the Cougars’ building leads as big as 10 points and taking a 30-23 advantage into halftime. That was the difference.
Holy Names coach Rhonda Smith — “I think that we’ve kind of built a mini-rivalry with Liberty in that we lost to them in double overtime (61-57) at district last year and that knocked us out for the year. And, then in summer league, I guess, and I don’t coach the girls in summer league, they lost to them by one (point). So, I think the girls have built up a little bit of a rivalry with one another.”
Holy Names senior Camariah King — “There’s a lot of emotion (playing Liberty). I know I’ve always wanted to get to state, and as a team, that’s been our goal every year. And we’ve been short every year just by a little bit. It was really hard just ending that (season-ending) game last season against (Liberty). This year, we came into this game as if we have to win it. If they have new people, we don’t care. We owe them something.”