Greg McCorkle
Trailing the entire game the Mt Tahoma Bears tied the game with 2.9 seconds left when West Seattle's Lydia Giomi was fed the ball in the paint and hit a four foot jumper at the buzzer to beat the Bears 51-49

Lady Wildcats edge out Mt. Tahoma at the buzzer

By Jeremy Martin

With less than three seconds remaining in a Saturday afternoon matchup between West Seattle and Tahoma, the Wildcats do it all forward Lexi Ione jacked up a three pointer from the right wing in the hopes of breaking a 49-49 tie and being the hero of a game that West Seattle had watched slip away.

However her shot missed off the front of the rim, but instead of gearing up for overtime, the Wildcats erupted in celebration as center Lydia Giomi tipped in the miss as a time expired giving West Seattle a dramatic and heart stopping 51-49 victory.

“That was a fun way to end it,” West Seattle head coach Sonya Elliot understated.

What turned out to be a bench clearing celebration could just have easily been a weekend ruining defeat as the Bearcats watched a ten point second quarter lead and a 14 point third quarter lead evaporate.

West Seattle ended the first quarter riding a 10-0 run, but a full court Bears press to begin the second quarter proved to be an equalizer as Tahoma battle back, tying the game at 24, after falling behind by double digits in the first quarter.

The Tahoma press helped the Bears amass 13 steals, 5 at the hands of Chardenae Miller, many of which lead to fast break layups, making a game of what appeared early on to be a potential run away Wildcats victory.

The run came thanks to a series of key halftime adjustments from who preached patience and teamwork to her club.

“We told the girls, you’ve got to play hard, you’ve got to finish it out. We knew they were a good team, had good shooter and we just knew we had to work as a team,” Elliott said.

And work as a team the Wildcats did as West Seattle totaled 15 assists, including five from Gabby Sarver and four from Ione.

“We’re getting better at that, using one another, we just have to get better and better as the season progresses,” Elliott said.

The Wildcats also shared the scoring duties as three players scored in double digits led by Sarver’s 15 points.
Annalisa Ursino added 12 points while Giomi netted 13 while grabbing 7 rebounds.
Ione added 6 points and grabbed a team high 11 boards for the Wildcats.

But balanced scoring only did so much as the Bears would once again tie the game with just over three minutes remaining in the contest when Brianna Aldridge nailed a triple from the left wing, knotting the game at 43.

The late game surge was led by Miller who came up with several key steals a big rebound and a two important buckets to put West Seattle on the ropes

Miller would finish the game with 10 points and seven rebounds.

For all the tenacity the Bears served up in the press, the Wildcats gave just as much effort with a physical and intimidating interior presence.

The West Seattle ‘D’ was able to muffle the efforts of star guard Rachel Paulson, the Bears quick footed point man whose attempts to drive the lane and get to the rim were constantly thwarted by a swarm of wildcat defenders.

Despite being the focus of the defense, Paulson managed 11 points. She was joined in the stat sheet by Aldridge who finished with 10.

An 11-2 run to open the second half allowed the Wildcats to take back control of the game, if only for a short time.
Physical, aggressive defense, coupled with a tenacious effort on the glass led to the impressive win against a talented and speedy Bears club.

The Wildcats finished the afternoon with a 34-20 advantage on the glass.

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