West Seattle Wildcat ladies win in lopsided opener

By Jeremy Martin

Despite breezy and cold temperatures that brought a bit of snow to the city, the atmosphere inside West Seattle high school was downright tropical as the Wildcats brought the heat during a season opening girl’s basketball tilt against Highline High winning the lopsided affair 63-8.

The young but talented West Seattle (1-0) squad led by 6’5’’ powerhouse Lydia Giomi was hot from the get-go racking up 24 first quarter points while holding the Pirates without a field goal until the 6:40 mark of the second quarter; an impressive feat for a team that suits only three upperclassmen and no seniors.

“All these starters started last year, we’ve worked really hard on team building and getting them to know one another. Their pretty good at staying focused,” West Seattle head coach Sonya Elliott said.

Giomi proved to be a handful right from the opening tip as the sophomore scored the first 8 points of the game in helping the Wildcats to run out to its impressive first quarter lead. She would finish with game highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds despite playing sparingly in the second half.

Sophomore Shelby Walker was strong off the bench netting 13 points while Charli Elliott added 9 rebounds and three steals.

Lexi Ioane grabbed nine rebounds and dished out a team high four assists for the Wildcats.

With no players standing taller than 5’11’’, the Pirates, despite an aggressive and often disruptive full court press, had trouble matching the size and athleticism of West Seattle, as the Wildcats dominated the paint, leaving the gym with a 45-14 advantage on the glass.

“We had the height advantage and that helped us a lot. Our girls crashed the boards pretty well and we have to keep doing that as the season progresses,” Elliott said.

But that didn’t stop the Pirates (0-1) from attacking the paint with crisp passes and penetration from the top of the key in an attempt to bust open a stingy wildcat man to man defense.

Lena Bradford played a heady game for Highline as the freshman came off the bench to record six points, confidently spotting up for threes and taking the ball hard to the rack as she attempted to spark an offense that had trouble stringing together baskets.

LeAnne Hatling gave all she had on the defensive end, leading the Pirates with three steals and 5 rebounds while also recording an impressive second half block on an unsuspecting Giomi.

“LeAnne is a good defender, she does play hard. (Lena) is a freshman, this was her first game, she comes from a middle school program without a lot of structure but she is doing exactly what we want, we want her to be aggressive we don’t want her to slow down,” Highline head coach Darrin Stolz zaid.

Freshman Erica Bowers put the Wildcats up by 50 points with just over five minutes remaining in the game when the freshman spotted up near the right elbow, drilling a jump shot, her first attempt of the season.

“I think it was good to get some of the nerves out and to try to run some of our plays. It was a good start to get a win in but we have some tough games coming up this weekend,” Elliott said.

Up next for West Seattle will be a matchup with state ranked Gonzaga Prep followed by a game with defending 4A state champions Meade.

Highline meanwhile will regroup to face off with Decatur on Monday night.

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