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Cougars lose round one 58-46 to Lake Stevens at state tourney

Central Kitsap’s Adria Layne looks to make a tough shot against Lake Stevens’ towering 6-foot-3 center Katie Holloway (No. 54) while guard Gina Carbonatto (No. 12) comes in from the backside. The Cougars lost their Class 4A state championship opening game at the Tacoma Dome to the Vikings 58-46. They play Thomas Jefferson at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 13, in the consolation bracket. - Photo by Rogerick Anas
Central Kitsap’s Adria Layne looks to make a tough shot against Lake Stevens’ towering 6-foot-3 center Katie Holloway (No. 54) while guard Gina Carbonatto (No. 12) comes in from the backside. The Cougars lost their Class 4A state championship opening game at the Tacoma Dome to the Vikings 58-46. They play Thomas Jefferson at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 13, in the consolation bracket.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

TACOMA — The Cougars’ dreams of winning their first-ever state girls basketball game went unfulfilled Wednesday afternoon as they opened the 2003 WIAA/Dairy Farmers of Washington Class 4A Championships with a tough 58-46 loss to Lake Stevens.

The Cougars (21-7) open consolation round play at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow against Thomas Jefferson (18-8). The Raiders lost their opener to early tournament favorite Garfield 55-29.

What was the cause for CK’s rough start to the their first trip to the big dance in a decade?

“Turnovers, crazy turnovers early and 28 percent shooting in the second half,” CK coach Denise Baxter said. “You just can’t win in the state tournament shooting 28 percent.”

CK shot 30 percent from the floor (15-for-50) and just 19 percent from outside the 3-point arc (4-for-21). They did shine at the free-throw line, shooting 71 percent (12-for-17). They had 22 turnovers.

“Our turnovers early on were ridiculous,” Baxter said. “You know when two sisters aren’t on the same page it’s pretty bad.”

The Vikings also looked anything but stellar — for the first eight minutes.

“We were a little nervous early and played that way,” said Steve Berg, who’s calling it a wraps in his 25th season as coach at Lake Stevens. “CK played fairly well early so it wasn’t all us.

“We shot the ball well after we got off to the slow start and that was the key to the game. Stacey Cochran came off the bench (in the second quarter) and hit a couple of big threes in our (10-2) run and that was a real catalyst for us.”

The Vikings shot 30 percent in the first quarter, missing eight field goal attempts before getting on the scoreboard when Maisie Todd hit a jumper. Todd, a 5-foot-10 senior forward, led her team with 15 points. The Vikings offense took off in the second quarter as they outscored CK 22-12.

“We came out strong until early foul trouble rattled the team,” said Nicole Zygmontowicz, who scored 15 points with nine rebounds. “And not having our regular starters in,” didn’t help as Stangler went to the floor 4 minutes, 45 seconds into the game with a sprained ankle, ending her season prematurely.

“To lose Sheena so early was a killer for us,” Baxter said. “And it’s not like the kids off the bench can’t do it, but Sheena is a senior with so much experience you can’t replace her. She’s one of the reasons we win. She hits all those chippy shots. She does all the little things right and is so consistent — so that was tough.”

This was the first time the Cougars have lost a player to injury this season. They weren’t able to keep the injury bug from biting again as Kaitlin Poppe’s head collided with Emily Zygmontowicz’s knee in the fourth quarter. Poppe was assisted off the court while the younger Zygmontowicz sister stayed in and played with a noticeable limp until fouling out shortly afterward. Both sophomores are expected back in the lineup tomorrow.

“Sheena’s a big offensive threat for us and we were missing our shots today,” Nicole Zygmontowicz said. “And if Adria (Layne) was in there in the second quarter things might have gone differently.”

Layne, the Cougars’ leading scorer, picked up her second and third fouls in less than 1:30 before the second quarter was half done. Reserve sophomore forward Poppe finished out the quarter in Layne’s absence as Lake Stevens’ offense exploded to take the lead at halftime 31-22. Layne later returned at the start of the second half, but didn’t have the same intensity.

“(The foul trouble) made me more aware to play on my feet and not do stupid stuff,” Layne said. “Sometimes I have to get in foul trouble to realize that.”

The reason for Layne’s troubles was Lake Stevens’ 6-foot-3 center Katie Holloway who towered over the CK forward by 5 inches.

“She was a challenge, a big challenge for me,” said the 5-foot-10 Layne, who finished with a game-high 16 points. “I’m used to being the tallest out there. But it was fun playing against her because she’s a good athlete.”

CK tried to get back in it with a late fourth-quarter run, pulling within nine points at 56-45 as Amy Spieker hit a 3-pointer with just over a minute left on the clock.

“When you don’t play well you just try to do everything you can to get back in the ballgame and stay in the ballgame to give yourself a chance at the end,” Baxter said.

Berg, who hasn’t taken the Vikings to the postseason in 16 years, said he never expected the team to make it this far.

“We started slower than we’re used to, but then we’ve won 13 out of 15 and we’re playing good basketball,” said Berg, who will coach against Garfield at 5 p.m. tomorrow. “They’ve really stepped up.”

Even with the loss, the Cougars seemed to be happy with their time basking in the state spotlight and hope they can rebound from the tough loss.

“I’m just loving it,” Nicole Zygmontowicz said of her first trip to state. “Hopefully we can bounce back tomorrow.”

“We had a rough game but we’re just excited we’ve made it this far,” Layne said. “It’s hard to play on a new court for the first time. Hopefully we’ll try to clean it up tomorrow.”

Lake Stevens 58, Central Kitsap 46

Cougars 10 12 12 12 — 46

Vikings 9 22 11 16 — 58

Central Kitsap — Noel Gregory 2, Jaime Gilbert, Sheena Stangler, Kaitlin Poppe, Morgan O’Friel, Emily Zygmontowicz 8, Amy Spieker 5, Nicole Zygmontowicz 15, Adria Layne 16.

Lake Stevens — Brittni Estes 12, Gina Carbonatto 11, Stacy Cochrun 9, Marlis Whitman 5, Malea Russum, Mallory LaPlante, Shawnta West, Maisie Todd 16, Katie Holloway 6.

Halftime — Lake Stevens 31, Central Kitsap 22.

Shooting — FG: CK 15-50, LS 21-57. FT: CK 12-17, LS 10-17. 3-pointers — CK 4-21, LS 6-17. Rebounds — CK 42 (N. Zygmontowicz 9, Gilbert 8, E. Zygmontowicz 7, Layne 6, Stangler 2), LS 38 (Todd 13). Steals — CK 4 (E. Zygmontowicz 2, Gilbert 1, N. Zygmontowicz 1), LS 10 (Cochrun 3, Todd 3). Assists — CK 14 (E. Zygmontowicz 5, Gregory 3, N. Zygmontowicz 3, Gilbert 2, Layne 1), LS 18 (Carbonatto 7). Turnovers — CK 22 (E. Zygmontowicz 7, N. Zygmontowicz 6, Spieker 3, Stangler 2, Layne 2), LS 14 (Estes 5). Total fouls — CK 18, LS 14. Fouled out — E. Zygmontowicz.

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