Sports

Lady Cougs ready for return to state

The Lady Cougars pose while celebrating their berth at state. Dacotah Ettl (41) holds a picture of the Tacoma Dome, where the state tournament is held. - Kent Soule/Hoot Creek Photography
The Lady Cougars pose while celebrating their berth at state. Dacotah Ettl (41) holds a picture of the Tacoma Dome, where the state tournament is held.
— image credit: Kent Soule/Hoot Creek Photography

TACOMA — For the fourth consecutive game, the Central Kitsap girls basketball team trailed at the break. But once again, the Lady Cougars simply found ways to win.

The Lady Cougs dropped Lincoln, the Narrows League champs, out of the playoffs 58-52 in earning the No. 7 seed to state out of the West Central District 3 Tournament Saturday at Foss High School.

“It feels really good,” CK senior Emily Zygmontowicz said. “Especially for all the seniors. To end the season by going to state, it’s wonderful.”

After Lincoln went on a 15-4 run across the first and second quarters, the Lady Abes were ahead 31-25 at the break.

Lincoln’s Vanessa Baines, who had scored just 19 total points in the squads previous two games, lit up the floor for 17 in the first half behind a barrage of five three pointers.

Much like CK’s loss to Kentlake in the previous round of the tourney, Lincoln was able to take advantage of CK’s first-half zone, finding the open shooters for uncontested shots.

But this time, CK made sure to correct its mistakes. After switching to a man defense late in the second quarter, CK was able to put a clamp on Lincoln’s offense and go on a 6-0 run to end the second quarter.

The Lady Cougs stayed tough on defense and went ahead 43-40 at the end of the third behind an 18-9 run out of the break.

“We knew coming in that we just can’t get into a running game with them,” CK coach Denise Baxter said. “Our guards showed the most composure they’ve shown all season.”

CK’s defensive turnaround was evident in the second half. For example, Baines scored just 5 points in the second half to lead Lincoln with 22.

And just as the defense stepped up, CK started knocking down its shots. Megan Hoisington led the way with a team-high 21 points and 10 boards while Zygmontowicz scored 16 in her strongest effort of the tourney, also adding 5 steals and 2 blocks. Amy Spieker scored all 9 of her points for CK in the fourth quarter.

Baxter said the key to the offensive

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