Brunner’s 3-pointer lifts Knights to stunning win | Girls basketball

Kamiak rallies from 12-point deficit to beat Lake Stevens
By David Pan | Jan 24, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Kamiak’s Carolyn Brunner is mobbed by teammates after her game-winning 3-point shot against Lake Stevens Wednesday, Jan. 17, at Kamiak High School.

Carolyn Brunner had doubts about whether the shot she just took was going to go in the hoop.

From his perspective near the Kamiak beach, coach Jason Johnson said that Brunner’s shot looked good all the way.

Trailing 50-49 with 7.4 seconds left in the game, the Knights took the ball from under their own hoop following a timeout.

Senior Alex Gallaher brought the ball up the court and passed to junior Hunter Beirne, who caught the ball on the right side of the court and drove to the basket. Beirne found the lane blocked by Lake Stevens defenders, so she passed the ball to a wide-open Brunner deep in the left corner of the court.

The Kamiak senior launched a buzzer-beating 3-point shot that rattled ever so briefly before falling through the hoop to give the Knights a stunning 52-50 victory over the Vikings in a Wesco 4A girls basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 17, at Kamiak High School.

“It was incredible, shooting the winning shot,” said Brunner, who led Kamiak with game-high 17 points. “It’s just an unbelievable feeling having your teammates have faith in you to make that shot, make the last shot.”

Brunner, however, wondered if the faith was misplaced.

“I was really worried,” she said. “I didn’t think it was going to go in. I was just like – please go in.”

During the timeout that preceded the game-winning shot, the Knights drew up a play designed for Beirne to drive down the lane.

“The lane was clogged up,” said Johnson, an assistant filling in for head coach Brian Norman, who was out with the flu. “Hunter did a great job of finding Carolyn in the corner.”

Though she is known for her rebounding and inside game, the 5-foot-11 Brunner spends a lot of time working on her outside shot.

“She’s one of the few kids that is in the gym all the time,” Johnson said. “She works and works on her game and she can shoot the ball outside and inside. She’s improved considerably.”

Lake Stevens, in the words of Johnson, “walloped” Kamiak 64-44 in the first meeting between the two teams in early December. Senior center Kylee Griffen, who has committed to Gonzaga, scored 20 points to lead the Vikings.

In the rematch, the Knights decided to double-team Griffen with Brunner handling most of the duties, along with help from Kamiak’s guards. The Lake Stevens standout was held to only 13 points.

“We doubled her up at the top of the key at all times with the posts,” Johnson said. “Carolyn did an excellent job on that and then we dropped a guard on to her to front her. If we were going to get beat, we were going to get beat by the corner shooters. They did make a few shots, but not too many.”

Beirne finished with 12 points and Karsen Alexander had 7 points. Lake Stevens Laycie Taylor scored 11 points.

Kamiak and Lake Stevens were tied at 13 after the first quarter and the Vikings eventually inched ahead 27-23 by halftime. Lake Stevens outscored the Knights 15-7 in the third quarter to head into the final period with a 42-30 advantage.

The lead stayed in double digits for much of the fourth quarter, but then the Knights started chipping away at the deficit.

A putback basket by sophomore Ashley Gray cut the Lake Stevens’ lead to 47-45 with about two minutes left. The Knights then had an opportunity to tie the score but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw at the 1:28 mark.

After another successful defensive stand, Beirne was fouled on an offensive rebound and made both free throws to tie the score at 47 with a minute to go.

Sophomore Raigan Reed then connected on a 3-point shot to give Lake Stevens a 50-47 lead. Beirne responded with a basket to cut the deficit to 50-49.

The Vikings brought the ball up the court and subsequently were fouled. Lake Stevens missed the front end of the 1-and-1 free throw and Kamiak rebounded the ball and then called a timeout to set up Brunner’s winning shot.

“It’s the biggest win of the year by far,” Johnson said. “The girls prepared very well and did a great job. We just executed all aspects of the game tonight.”

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