Jaguars make a statement

Girls Basketball: Jaguars grind out 47-43 victory against Puyallup in SPSL rivalry

of the HeraldJanuary 15, 2014 

Emerald Ridge Jaguars junior Riley Clarke, left, secures a rebound against Puyallup’s Addie Picha in the paint in a battle between SPSL South rivals on Jan. 10 at Emerald Ridge High School on South Hill.

LEE GILES III/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Sometimes a victory means much more than just a “W.”

Emerald Ridge senior post Kayla Frank split the Puyallup defense for a driving layup in the paint with 49 seconds left, and the Jaguars (8-4 overall) held on for a 47-43 win against the Vikings (8-2) on Friday night at Emerald Ridge High School on South Hill.

Frank’s basket gave Emerald a three-point lead, and sophomore guard Sunni Berbert added a free throw with 16.9 seconds left to seal the victory.

Frank, who finished with 13 points, said she wasn’t nervous when she had the ball in her hands late in the fourth quarter.

“Sometimes you don’t have to think about it,” she said. “I didn’t even realize how much time was on the clock. I was just feeling it. I wanted to make one big play for our team because we deserved to win.”

Jaguars coach Brad Mirk said Frank redeemed herself with the bucket with less than a minute to play.

“Kayla had just missed one a minute earlier,” Mirk said. “She’s a smart player, and she knew where to be. She was in the right spot and made the play. That was a big shot.”

Puyallup led throughout the first half, but there were three lead changes in the second half as Emerald Ridge made its push.

Vikings guard Braylie Jeffers, who scored nine of her team-high 17 points in the third quarter, kept the game close with her assortment of drives to the basket.

Despite Jeffers’ big plays, Emerald Ridge was key down the stretch. Junior Riley Clarke led the Jaguars with 15 points.

Afterward, Mirk emphatically pumped his fist and exchanged greetings with fans in the stands.

“We have a huge amount of respect for Puyallup,” Mirk said. “They are one of those programs that we have been measuring ourselves against and saying this is where we want to go. A win like this against Puyallup is huge for us.

“Both teams went at it tonight. It was a nose-to-nose kind of game.”

Mirk said the triumph will be a good confidence-booster for the rest of the year.

“Our goal is to play every team we face exactly the same way,” he said. “We’re going to take what we can from this game and continue to improve.”

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