It’s not the trophy they wanted – or expected – to play for this week, but Mt. Spokane will play on Saturday at State nonetheless.
The day after getting bounced from the championship bracket, Jayda Noble scored 13 of her team-high 17 points in the third quarter and the No. 4 Wildcats pulled away from No. 10 Seattle Prep 48-32 in a State 3A fourth-place bracket game at Tacoma Dome on Friday.
Mt. Spokane (20-4) advances to the State fourth-place game on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
“We want to take a trophy home for sure,” Noble said. “That’s why we’re here. I mean, we can’t do anything about it so we might as well just give it our all.”
Noble was 7 of 12 from the field and 3 of 5 on 3-point attempts, with all three makes in the third. She added a game-high nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and a blocked shot.
“We came in calm and ready to play,” Mt. Spokane coach David Pratt said. “We did our homework and, I mean, Jayda was Jayda today.”
Molly Moffitt led Seattle Prep with 19 points. The No. 10 Panthers (21-10) finished second in the Metro League Mountain Division behind No. 1 Eastside Catholic, which beat Seattle Prep in a quarterfinal 52-48 on Thursday.
What a difference a day makes: the Wildcats shot 42.5% overall – in the quarterfinal loss on Thursday, Mt. Spokane hit just 25.4%.
“Much better,” Noble said of the performance. “I mean, it’s one of those things where (Thursday) we came out and we did everything, we just could not hit a shot to save our lives. We ran our offense. We got steals, we beat them on rebounds.
“Just sometimes, the ball isn’t going in the basket. And that’s okay, but what matters is what we did today. We came out, we played how we know how to play. That’s important.”
“It’s good to see them respond,” Pratt added. “We talked about that too, you know, adversity is part of life. How are you gonna respond? What do you do in life when things don’t go well?”
Frosh Destiny Kamalu-Vargas (10 points) got the Cats off to a good start, hitting a couple of early corner 3s. Senior post Sophia Bertotti-Metoyer added one from the opposite corner and Mt. Spokane led 13-7 after one.
“Our first two shots went in, both a couple 3s, and our team was feeling good,” Pratt said. “I think that’s huge for us when we can hit that first shot and get the nervousness out.”
Emma Main and Jaimyn Sides hit from long distance and the Wildcats opened a 21-9 lead with 3 1/2 minutes left in the half. Noble’s first bucket came on a runner a minute later and the Wildcats took a 25-13 lead into intermission.
Molly Moffitt drained a 3 to get Prep’s deficit to seven early in the third. Noble responded with a personal 8-0 spurt, including a pair of 3s. Her third 3 of the frame made it a 12-point lead.
Noble had 13 of the Cats 16 points in the frame and Mt. Spokane led 41-27 entering the fourth quarter.
“We’ve talked about me being more offensive, having a more offensive mindset,” Noble said. “I can’t believe I waited until State to actually put it into effect.”
The pace slowed considerably in the fourth, as the teams combined for 12 points. The Panthers never found a run and the Wildcats hit their free throws down the stretch.
Pratt called timeout with just under a minute left to bring in sparsely-used underclass backups Bryten Gumke, Whitney Browning and Naomi Kostecka to get a taste of state action in the Dome.
“They’re gonna be in our program,” Pratt said. “And I told them, ‘I don’t care how much time is left I want you to you guys to go in.’
“I know it’s only 45 seconds or a minute, but it was good to see them out there.”
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