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Friday, March 10, 2006 - Page updated at 12:18 AM

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Girls Basketball

Prairie levels Woodinville in 4A quarterfinals

Seattle Times staff reporter

TACOMA — They dared to dream of making history.

But the Woodinville Falcons had their bubble popped by a Prairie team intent on continuing a rich tradition.

Third-ranked Prairie of Brush Prairie played a near-perfect third quarter and pulled away for a 73-56 victory Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state girls basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome.

Woodinville led 29-25 at halftime, but watched Prairie sink 10 of its first 11 shots in the third quarter to take control, 49-33, and never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way.

"Every time we tried to make a run, they just knocked down a shot," said Woodinville senior LeeAnn Palo, who scored a game-high 23 points.

Prairie (25-2), which shot 74.1 percent from the field in the second half, advanced to the semifinals for the eighth time in nine years. Prairie plays at 8:30 tonight against No. 2 University of Spokane.

Woodinville (23-2), which had a 13-game win streak snapped, takes on Kentwood at 3:30 p.m. in a loser-out game.

Palo called Prairie the best team Woodinville has played all season. Woodinville's only other loss was in overtime to Garfield, last year's state champion, and the KingCo 4A school came in allowing just 43.3 points per game.

"I think we're a great basketball team and they thumped us pretty good in the second half," Woodinville coach Steve Segadelli said.

Prairie had four scorers in double figures — Ashley Corral (17), Jamey Gelhar (14), Merritt Cameron (10) and Chelsea Porter (10).

Woodinville, which made its only other state appearance in 1993, still has a chance to earn its first state trophy.

"We don't want to lose again," Palo said. "That felt bad."

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