Kamiak hangs on to defeat Mariner in rematch | Girls basketball

Knights survive last second 3-point shot by the Marauders
By David Pan | Jan 31, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Senior Karsen Alexander scored all nine of her points in the second half in the Knights’ 54-52 victory over the Marauders.

Round two goes to Kamiak.

After losing to district rival Mariner for the first time in school history last month, the Knights were looking for a different result in the rematch.

Junior Hunter Beirne hit a 3-pointer to break a 46-46 tie and then scored her team’s final basket to help Kamiak to a 54-52 victory over the Marauders in a Wesco 4A girls basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 24, at Mariner High School.

Beirne finished with a team-high 15 points but had ample support from her teammates. Seniors Karsen Alexander and Carolyn Brunner each scored 9 points and sophomore Margaux Manalo had 8 points.

Alexander scored all of points in the second half. Her 3-pointer at the 5:12 mark of the fourth quarter tied the score at 46 and she then extended the Kamiak advantage to 52-46 with her third 3-point shot with about three minutes left in the contest.

“It feels so good to finally beat them,” Alexander said. “We really wanted this win.”

And it felt good for Alexander to overcome a tough first half from the field.

“The first half was brutal,” she said. “It was nice for my teammates to give me the ball. I was finally getting in rhythm.”

The victory didn’t come easily for the Knights.

Senior Hannah Hezekiah cut the Kamiak lead to 52-49 on a 3-pointer with 1:57 remaining and Yuni Septimo-Ruiz followed with another basket, as Mariner drew to within 1 point – 52-51 with 1:26 left.

Beirne made a basket to extend her team’s lead to 54-51 at the 1:13 mark.

Mariner senior Denisa Grebovic was fouled after an offensive rebound and made one of two free throws for the game’s final point.

The Knights misfired at the end, turning over the ball twice and missing the front end of two 1-and-1 free throw opportunities.

The Marauders had a chance to win at the end of the game, but a 3-point shot by Hezekiah missed the mark. The Mariner senior scored 15 points.

Freshman Taliyah Clark finished with 11 points. Clark picked up two early fouls in the first quarter and spent a good chunk of the first half on the bench. The Mariner standout, who scored 34 points against Kamiak in December, eventually fouled out of the game with just over half a minute left in the game.

Kamiak coach Brian Norman admitted that the Knights didn’t have any answer for Clark in their first meeting. Kamiak largely tried to cover her with one defender.

Brunner again drew the defensive assignment, but she had help from her teammates.

With their 77-66 victory over Monroe on Friday, Jan. 26, the Knights have won six straight and nine out of their last 10 contests.

“We’re riding a little bit of a good run,” Norman said. “We’re third place in the league. We’re excited about that. I’m still thinking we haven’t played our best basketball. It was a good effort. It was not the cleanest of games, but we got it done.”

Alexander also likes the way the Knights are playing.

“We’re coming together as a team, playing really good team basketball,” Alexander said.

With the district playoffs looming, Norman wants to see crisper play from the Knights.

“We need to lessen our turnovers,” he said. “We’d like to get out and run and push the tempo a little bit. We have to be smarter on how we handle that speed. We can make one extra pass and get a better shot than a good shot.”

Manalo, coming off the bench, sparked Kamiak in the second quarter, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to help turn a 12-10 deficit into a 16-10 lead.

The Knights went into halftime with a 24-17 advantage. The Marauders came out strong in the third quarter, outscoring Kamiak 17-7 to take a 31-28 lead midway through the period. The Knights, however, went on an 11-7 run to head into the fourth quarter with a 39-38 lead.

Hezekiah said that she wasn’t really able to get a good look at the basket on the final shot of the game.

“I got a side shot. That was a bad angle,” she said. “I think we still played good defense. They hit shots on us that we needed to get out more on. It just, at the end, came down to who hit their shots. They hit theirs and we didn’t hit our shots at the end.”

Mariner coach Corey Gibb appreciated that the Marauders were in a position to win the game at the end.

“We got a shot,” he said. “It wasn’t the best look, but we had a shot. … She made a couple earlier in the game from the corner.”

The Marauders came out strong in the first quarter, Gibb said, but then didn’t match the effort in the second quarter.

“We lost some energy somewhere,” he said. “It was like the adrenaline rush came off a little bit. We let them get some easy 3s. We didn’t close out hard. We didn’t get out with our hands up like we’re capable of doing.”

Mariner rebounded in the third quarter, erasing the 6-point halftime deficit.

“The third quarter we worked really hard,” Gibb said. “Then you just had a feeling that it was going to come down to the end. … It was a good effort by both teams. Both teams brought it tonight. They kept people in the stands.”

KAMIAK’S BEIRNE EARNS ALL STATE HONOR: Kamiak junior Hunter Beirne was selected to the Washington State Soccer Coaches Association’s Class 4A all-state girls soccer first team. Beirne, a Running Start student at Edmonds Community College, has a 4.0 GPA.

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