With Capital leading by two points and Timberline looking to tie the game – or win it with a 3-pointer – the Cougars’ strategy was simple.
“Don’t give up the 3,” Capital post Aria Goodman said.
Timberline sophomore guard Sasha Weber drove one-on-one against Alyssa Edenstrom, and Weber’s running 5-footer hit the rim and rolled off to preserve Capital’s dramatic, 63-61 victory in the teams’ Class 3A Western Cascade Conference girls basketball game Friday night.
Capital, which has won five straight games, improved to 12-4 overall and 5-0 in WCC play.
“I think we were fired up,” Goodman said of the final seconds. “We knew to not to give them a 3, and if they score (two points), there’s overtime.”
It was a true comeback for the league-leading Cougars. They had trailed since the first quarter when Tosha Hollingsworth’s steal and layup gave them a 43-42 lead with 1:40 remaining in the third quarter.
The lead changed hands seven times during a back-and-forth fourth-quarter battle.
Weber’s 3-pointer gave Timberline its last lead, 58-57, before Hollingsworth and Goodman combined for Capital’s final six points.
Capital coach Colleen Wells said she had two different teams on the court – one in the first half and one in the second half.
“We don’t always go out and win games immediately,” Wells said. “The second half, we went out and played the game like the Capital basketball team that knows how to play basketball. We played relaxed and were making good decisions.”
Timberline (8-8, 1-4) caught fire to end the first half. The Blazers used a 17-0 run during the final 4 minutes to take a 10-point lead at halftime, 35-25. Of those 17 points, Weber and Kierra Allen combined for 13, and a total of 10 came off turnovers.
Timberline’s defense held Hollingsworth – the WCC’s leading scorer – to just seven first-half points. She finished with a game-high 26 points, and Goodman scored 14.
Capital outscored the Blazers 22-12 in the third quarter to tie the score at 47 heading into the fourth.
“I think our team naturally relaxes when we have a lead instead of having that desire,” Timberline coach Zandrea Edenstrom said. “The defense relaxed in the third quarter.”
While the winning team was the same as in the teams’ first matchup, it was a much different game this time. When the teams met Jan. 19, Capital used a 30-4 run to pull away for a convincing 68-42 win.
In that game, Timberline was without its leading scorer, Weber, who missed the Blazers’ first two WCC games while she recovered from mononucleosis.
Weber finished Friday’s game with 13 points. Camille Williams led Timberline with 20 points, including four 3-pointers.
The difference for Capital during its five-game winning streak has been its defense, Wells said. The Cougars have given up an average of 43.4 points per game and have built a two-game lead over Yelm (3-2 WCC), which was a 49-22 winner over North Thurston on Friday night.