Sports

The Road to State another dead end for Warrior girls

"SPOKANE - One team had to go home. Unfortunately for the King's West girls, heartbreak happened a day too early.In a tightly officiated game, the Warriors fell short against the Pateros Nannies, 57-54, leaving them one win away from their goal of playing in the Saturday trophy round of the state Class B championship tournament.With seven seconds left to play, King's West had a chance to tie the game, but Marica Bulette's desperation shot was long at the buzzer.For the fifth time in six years, the Warriors got to the state B Final 16 tourney, only to leave the Spokane Arena without a top-eight trophy.With just less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Warriors found themselves down by nine points, 53-44. The Nannies' lead was cut to two behind the offense of Beth Grams, who came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring eight of her team high 15 points, and a Bekah Walker steal leading to a Taryn Hanley lay-up.Nannies star Miryia Libbey exchanged points with Grams late in the fourth quarter, not letting her team squander its lead. Grams scored her points with an array of low post moves while Libbey answered, earning most of hers at the free throw line. She finished the game 13 of 16 from the line.Then, on a questionable call by the referees, Bulette was called for a foul as she stole the ball from a Pateros player. Three clutch free throws by Libbey in the final 35 seconds proved enough to protect her team's lead.Forty-six personal fouls were whistled in the game, and Lindsey Redfern and Natasha Beals both made early exits for the Warriors after being tooted for their fifth fouls. Both teams were in double-bonus (two shots for every foul) early into the fourth quarter.We are not that aggressive, said Warriors coach Tom Oliver. That bothered me.After the final buzzer sounded, Bulette and Natasha Beals, two of four seniors on the team, embraced each other at halfcourt with tears in their eyes. Walker and Grams are the other seniors. After the game, not many words were spoken among the teary-eyed Warriors.In the locker room I thanked the seniors for a great ride, Oliver said. They accomplished many things. I told them not to pin everything on today's game.Like those four seniors, Oliver - a 10-year veteran as the Warrior girls' head coach - won't be back at King's West next year. The school has eliminated the athletic director position and informed him earlier this winter that he would not be offered a contract for the 2001-02 school year.He actually was let go by the school, which is owned by Seattle's Crista Ministries, last summer, but was brought back amid a storm of protests from students and parents.Both teams battled back and forth in the first half, with neither team holding a lead larger than four. In the second quarter, both King's West and Pateros went on 9-2 runs, keeping the game close. Hanna Hull of Pateros led all scorers at halftime with 10.Eleven of the Nannies' 16 third-quarter points came by free throws. Libbey, who was held to two first-half points, poured in 18 after the break for Pateros. She was aided by Hull, who scored 18. Both girls combined to pull down 17 boards.Grams led King's West with 15 points while Walker chipped in with 11. Redfern, the only junior among the Warriors' starters, pulled down nine rebounds.North Beach beat Pateros 67-66 in Saturday's game for fifth and eighth places. "

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