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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

State 4A girls: Gonzaga Prep defense smothers No. 2 Woodinville; Olivia McIntyre provides spark in 60-54 win

Gonzaga Prep girls coach Goeff Arte joked after the Bullpups’ Round-of-12 win over Lake Stevens on Wednesday that his team “doesn’t scare anybody getting off the bus.”

It might have been an attempt at self-deprecating humor or modesty, because the way the young Bullpups reached its quarterfinal matchup on Thursday should have instilled a little fear, or at least offered a pause to reflect, by No. 2 Woodinville. 

G-Prep, with just one senior and two juniors on the roster, got through the gauntlet which is the Greater Spokane League with just one loss – to Mead, the No. 1 team in 3A – then survived the District 8 tourney with a 51-50 overtime win over Chiawana and its pair of 6-foot-3 frontcourt players. 

And after a tough loss to 4A No. 1 Camas in the opening round, the Bullpups showed resolve and withstood a hard-fought effort by Lake Stevens, including super frosh Aylah Cornwall dropping 5 of 6 at the line in the last 63 seconds of the game to ice it.

So, if the Falcons weren’t “scared,” maybe they should have been. 

Olivia McIntyre and Aylah Cornwall scored 14 points apiece, Gillian Bears added 12 points with nine rebounds and the Bullpups (21-6) upset the second-seeded Falcons (25-3) 50-44.

Gonzaga Prep faces fifth-seeded Davis in a semifinal Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Woodinville drops into the fourth-place bracket against third-seeded Kamiakin. 

“We were just so ready for that game,” Bears, the lone senior on the squad, said. “We knew it was gonna be a tough one. We knew it was gonna be competitive the whole time, and every player on our team contributed to that win.”

“We knew that we could do it,” McIntyre said. “We knew that we had what it takes, and we just played like we had nothing to lose. We had the mindset that it was a loser-out game, and it was to us.”

“We’re just playing so hard,” Gonzaga Prep coach Geoff Arte said. “The message all week has been ‘When we go back in the locker room, let’s make sure that we left everything on the court,’ and then win or lose, you can live with it when you’re old and on your rocker. And we’ve been doing that.”

G-Prep only shot 28%, but went 22 of 33 at the line, including 12 of 17 in the fourth quarter when Woodinville was forced to foul. Cornwall, a freshman, went 10 of 15 at the line in addition to grabbing 12 rebounds.

“We’re not scoring it tremendously well right now, but we are really defending,” Arte said. “When we were in foul trouble our subs came in and they defended just like our starting kids.”

The first half was a battle of attrition, with both teams struggling mightily from the field. The Bullpups led after 9-6 after one, while Woodinville got 3-pointers from Macartney Noe and Jazlyn Wilkerson in the second and led 21-16 at halftime. 

The Bullpups flipped the script in the third. Bears and Cornwall got to the line often, McIntyre took advantage of the open space to score seven points and G-Prep put up 18 points in the period. The Bullpups held Woodinville to one basket and led 34-25 after three. 

McIntyre, a junior, hit a reverse layup and made the free throw to make it 41-28 with 3:27 to go.

“The best thing about that was (McIntyre) didn’t play great in the first half,” Arte said. “And she responded like an older kid should and kind of carried us through some of that third quarter stuff.”

Woodinville kept sending the Bullpups to the line down the stretch, and they kept knocking them down.

“When you play these really good teams, you kind of have to turn it into a rock fight and hope you get enough baskets at the end,” Arte said. “And then we made our free throws when we needed to.”

McIntyre doesn’t mind if the rest of the state is still sleeping on the Bullpups. 

“I think we love being in that position – kind of overlooked and we’re super young. We knew that we had unfinished business and we wanted to take care of it.”