OLYMPIA - Although Timberline has steamrolled through its season unbeaten with three regular-season games left, the third-ranked Blazers are still relatively new when it comes to the playoffs.
With a 56-39 victory over Capital on Friday night, Timberline is a win away from clinching the first league title in school history, and can do so Wednesday against Lincoln.
And keeping that momentum going with 17 straight wins, including 7-0 in 3A Narrows League play, is important for the Blazers as they come down the homestretch and into district.
“That’s something we always think about,” said Timberline coach Zandrea Edenstrom. “Even though we’re having success in the league, playoffs are still something that’s foreign to us.”
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The past two years, the Blazers have been one-and-out in the district tournament.
Cymone Martin and Sasha Weber each had 16 points to lead all scorers Friday, and Martin also pulled down 12 rebounds.
As in their previous game on Jan. 12 – a 67-49 Timberline win – Capital came out with a strong start and led the entire first quarter. But Timberline took its first lead to start the second quarter on Camille Williams’ jumper and never relinquished it.
Capital played the majority of the game without its leading scorer, senior point guard Kelsey Antles. She sustained a concussion while on defense two minutes into the second quarter and didn’t return. Her 10-foot jumper accounted for the Cougars’ only two points in the quarter. Timberline outscored Capital 16-2 in the quarter, including a 14-0 run in the final 5:42 to take a 29-16 lead into halftime.
After Antles went out, Kristyn Ross and Kendel Wilkerson saw the majority of the time at point guard. Ross and Wilkerson finished with nine points apiece, and Ross also pulled down 11 rebounds.
“I thought we did a good job in the second half adjusting to not having Kelsey on the floor,” Capital assistant coach Kevin Wright said. “This is the first time in two years we haven’t had her on the court.”
Timberline also got a big spark from Williams. The senior guard had 15 points and was a big playmaker on defense, getting steals off the three-quarter-court press.
“She’s makes plays, and that’s what good about Camille,” Edenstrom said. “She’s gotten it to where it’s fluid and she doesn’t have to think about it.”
Capital twice trimmed its deficit to 10 points in the second half, the latter coming on Aria Goodman’s layup to make it 42-32. Things turned physical for both teams in the fourth quarter, as three technical fouls were assessed.
After getting a big win Wednesday against Wilson, Capital (9-8, 3-4) is in a must-win situation the next three games against Yelm, Lincoln and Foss. The top three teams move on to the district tournament.