TACOMA – The Mead girls basketball team looked like a state veteran Wednesday.
That, perhaps more than anything, was what most pleased coach Regan Drew, whose Panthers qualified for the first time since 2007.
Just about everything the Panthers did they did right – especially junior guard Taylor Ingebritsen, who went 10 for 10 from the field to lead Mead to an easy 66-37 win over the Puyallup Vikings in a State 4A tournament opener at the Tacoma Dome.
Mead (22-5) braces for a test tonight when it takes on defending state champ Kentwood (23-5) at 7.
The Lewis and Clark Tigers let victory slip away in a heartbreaking 51-49 loss to Issaquah.
The Tigers (16-10) meet Rogers of Puyallup (18-10) in a loser-out game this morning at 9.
Mead 66, Puyallup 37: Granted, there are at least two Greater Spokane League teams not at state that are clearly better than the Vikings.
Still, the Panthers didn’t play down to their level – which often happens in openers for teams that haven’t been to state recently.
“I liked our start, I liked our passing, our sharing the ball,” Drew said. “For a lot of girls who haven’t been here before, they didn’t look like it. We were relaxed, composed.”
Ingebritsen, who scored a game-high 20 points, didn’t know she had a perfect shooting game. All she remembers is she had a little talk with herself before the game.
“I told myself before the game that I needed to relax and have fun out there,” she said.
“She puts in a lot of time,” Drew said. “She lives in the gym. That doesn’t surprise me. She can fill it up.”
The game was never close. Mead opened an 18-6 lead through the first period and led 37-18 at half.
Save a brief lull to open the third quarter, the Panthers didn’t have any serious hiccups.
“They’re a good ballclub,” Puyallup coach Dan Picha said. “They ran the ball very well. They got a lot of their points in transition. We did not do a very good job getting back. I thought we were prepared to, but, boy, they’ve got some greyhounds. (And) they apply very good defensive pressure.”
Mead senior Jazmine Redmon, who went to state with the Panthers in 2007, overcame foul trouble to finish with 17 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
Drew looks forward to facing Kentwood.
“They have a great point guard, good size, good outside shooting,” she said. “I think it comes down to doing the little things and executing and who is going to do them better.”
Issaquah 51, Lewis and Clark 49: The Eagles used a 10-0 run the final 3 minutes, 26 seconds to upset the Tigers.
A three-point play by Daisy Burke allowed LC to match its biggest lead at 49-41 with 3:51 remaining. But the Tigers couldn’t muster any offense thereafter, committing three turnovers on the way to 21.
“When you play this game you’ve got to be smart and make the right decisions and we didn’t,” LC coach Jim Redmon said.
LC failed on opportunities to increase leads at various points.
“Turnovers were horrible,” Redmon said. “Each time when we started to get momentum, we did something else to slow it back down.”
The final turnover came when Dominique Mendezona got a steal at midcourt and scored to forge a 49-49 tie with 31 seconds to go.
LC set up a play on a timeout, but a shot by Burke in the key didn’t fall and left too much time (15 seconds) on the clock for Issaquah.
After a hurried shot, Maddey Pflaumer tracked down the long rebound and was fouled with six-tenths of a second on the clock. She made both free throws for the win.
“I thought we had a decent lead. Not a comfortable lead but a decent lead,” Redmon said. “I thought we needed to make the right decisions at the end and we didn’t. The idea was to hold the ball and take the last shot and not take it with the time that we did. That’s why you play the game. To their credit, they hit a couple of big shots late and hit the two big foul shots at the end.”