BATTLE GROUND — At a time when a less experienced team might have felt the pressure of the moment, the Skyview girls basketball was composed and confident.
The result was a fabulous fourth quarter as the Storm ran away from Bellarmine Prep of Tacoma for a 64-37 win on Friday in a Class 4A state round-of-16 game at Battle Ground High School. Skyview’s 15th consecutive win sends the Storm (20-4) to the Tacoma Dome next week as one of eight teams standing.
Skyview took a four-point lead into the fourth quarter, then took over the game with their blueprint half-court defense and rebounding and with top-notch execution on offense. The Storm outscored the Lions 31-8 in the final quarter.
“We just told each other we had eight minutes until the (Tacoma) Dome. I think that pumped up a lot of us,” said junior Ashlee Comastro, who scored 14 of her 16 points in the first three quarters then helped her teammates find the basket in the fourth quarter.
Skyview coach Jennifer Buscher said her message to her team entering the fourth quarter was to be calm and controlled, “and play the best eight minutes of basketball we’ve played all season.”
It’s difficult to imagine a better quarter than the Storm produced.
Riley Friauf and Sydney Friauf set up each other for layups in the first minute of the period, establishing the pattern of play the rest of the way.
“We were definitely more patient on offense and we trusted each other,” said Riley Friauf, who scored 10 of her 12 points in the fourth quarter. “We knew we had an advantage inside so we focused more on that in the fourth quarter and we executed.”
Hanna VanNortwick scored nine of her team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter. She scored off a drive, hit four foul shots and a big 3-pointer that stretched the lead to 16 points with four minutes left.
Skyview made seven layups and 12 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter. The Storm finished 18 for 19 from the foul line.
“At the end of the game they were pressuring us so much that we were able to find those gaps and find the open players,” VanNortwick said.
Buscher said her team worked all week to prepare for the defensive pressure it would face from Bellarmine (18-8).
The Lions’ active defense produced 16 Skyview turnovers in the first half, but the Storm defense allowed Skyview to lead 23-20 at the break. In the second half, Skyview only had nine turnovers, and survived a series of quick fouls.
Without 6-foot-1 forward Shalyse Smith, Bellarmine’s top scorer, the Lions could not find many good looks in the second half.
By the time Bellermine’s McKenzie Allen banked home a 3-pointer late in the game, the matter was long settled because Skyview had outscored Bellarmine 25-3 from the start of the fourth quarter.
“We made a couple of adjustments, but I think it was more a matter of settling in the second half,” Buscher said.
VanNortwick said it was difficult to describe the emotion of earning a spot in the final eight at state.
“We just worked so hard and worked together and everything clicked in the end,” she said.
SKYVIEW 64, BELLARMINE PREP 37
BELLERMINE (18-8) – Madeline Garcia 4, McKenzie Alton 10, Jenny Hagle 3, Reyelle Frazier 8, Mary Joyce 2, Jayana Ervin 10, Maddie Graves 0, Maggie Smith 0, Maya Willis 0, Clara Gatpatan 0. Totals 13 (3) 8-17 37.
SKYVIEW (20-4) – Riley Friauf 12, Sydney Friauf 4, Hanna VanNortwick 17, Remington Riley 4, Kirsten Johnson 5, Ashlee Camastro 16, Maddie Lord 6, Devi Dugan 0, Nicole Christensen 0, Hannah Hale 0. Totals 22 (2) 18-19 64.
Bellarmine 13 7 9 8–37
Skyview 11 12 10 31–64