Eastlake girls weather foul trouble, top Woodinville

December 17, 2013

By Neil Pierson

The Eastlake Wolves know they can’t always have their five best players on the floor at the end of a game, but they’re not worried about it.

The Wolves collected 25 personal fouls, and four of their starters spent significant time on the bench Dec. 13 against Woodinville.

But the foul trouble didn’t stop Eastlake from earning its third straight win to open the KingCo Conference girls basketball slate, 65-56, in front of an energetic crowd at the Eastlake High gymnasium.

Eastlake’s depth proved valuable as senior post Maggie Douglas fouled out late in the fourth quarter, and fellow starters Marijke Vanderschaaf, Rachel Lorentson and Lauren Mittenthal each finished with four fouls.

“Our fundamental principle is family, and that we can just kind of rely on each other to pull weight and deal with people in foul trouble,” head coach Sara Goldie said, “and I think we did a pretty good job early in the season on that.”

Early in the game, the Wolves (3-1 overall, 3-0 conference) relied on their defense to stay in front. Woodinville (1-2, 1-1) used a lot of four-guard sets, Goldie said, and Eastlake had to find ways to neutralize the Falcons’ strong perimeter shooters.

“We know that if they get hot and get on a roll, we’ve got an uphill battle,” the coach said.

Douglas, who stuffed the box score with 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals, said the Wolves often switched from their usual match-up 2-3 zone defense to a man-to-man defense. The strategy paid off as Woodinville managed only 18 points in the first half

“They were just so quick to shoot threes, so we figured that we’d have to match up with them or otherwise they’d just kill us from the arc,” Douglas said.

The Falcons, however, stole or deflected several entry passes, and kept Douglas and Vanderschaaf from getting into an offensive rhythm. It took a Lorentson 3-pointer and an Elizabeth Tracy lay-up just before the half to push the Wolves’ lead to seven.

Eastlake started the second half on a 10-1 run. Mittenthal hit a 3-pointer from the left wing, Tracy broke the Falcons’ press to score on a long pass from Douglas, and reserve post Sarah Priestly had a putback basket that gave the Wolves a 16-point lead, their biggest of the game.

“I think all of our starters were close (to fouling out),” Douglas said. “I think it’s good that we’re so deep, can count on sophomores like Sarah to come in for us.”

The Falcons weren’t about to quit, and made things interesting with a 27-point fourth quarter. They trimmed their deficit to seven on a couple occasions, but the Wolves made the most of their free-throw chances in the fourth quarter to hold on.

For the game, Woodinville was 20 of 36 (55 percent) at the charity stripe, while Eastlake was 23 of 31 (74 percent).

“I think that was obviously not that fun of a game when you look at how many free throws were shot,” Goldie said. “It really slows down and kind of changes the way the game is played. But it’s a big deal to play a long, hard-fought battle and hit free throws at the end of the game.”

Woodinville’s Mackenzie Campbell led all scorers with 18 points. Vanderschaaf had nine of her 16 points in the final quarter, and Woerner added 10 points and four rebounds.

The Wolves travel to Roosevelt for their first road game of the season at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18, then return home for two nonconference tests – Dec. 20 versus Beaverton, Ore., and Dec. 21 versus Lakeside. Both home games begin at 7 p.m.

Goldie and Douglas said the team’s tough schedule thus far will prove valuable as the season goes on.

“We had really hard starts with Inglemoor and Woodinville, so it’s good to get some wins, especially with KingCo this year,” Douglas said. “It’s probably going to be pretty hard.”

“That can’t be a bad thing,” Goldie added. “I think it definitely prepares us for a long haul and a tough KingCo league. And it puts us in close game situations, and those are the lessons that these kids have to work on and learn to master.”

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