Strong second half propels Puyallup to victory against South Kitsap

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Vikings get first-round win but fall to Skyview in quarterfinal matchup

of the HeraldFebruary 19, 2014 

Puyallup High School guard Hailey Smoot, right, puts pressure on a South Kitsap Wolves guard on Thursday during the first round of the West Central District tournament at Puyallup High School. The Vikings won, 60-46.

KENT NEWMAN/COURTESY PHOTO

Puyallup Vikings Addie Picha and Marissa Miller were too much for the South Kitsap Wolves to handle Thursday night.

Picha scored a team-high 16 points and Miller chipped in 13 during Puyallup’s 60-46 win against South Kitsap in the first round of the Class 4A West Central District III tournament at Puyallup High School.

South Kitsap, which was paced by Gabrielle Stewart’s team-high 16 points, cut Puyallup’s lead to 26-25 in the early stages of the third quarter. But Puyallup outscored the Wolves 34-21 run during the final 13 minutes to put the game away.

Puyallup consistently got the ball to Picha and Miller for easy buckets in the post throughout the game.

“At practice all week, we were working on our high-low game and getting each other open on the block,” Miller said. “We really need to be a threat on the inside so our guards on the outside could have some open looks at threes.”

The Vikings fed off Braylie Jeffers’ energy. The guard was constantly in motion and finished with 13 points and three steals.

“Braylie plays awesome every night,” Miller said. “She gives it 110 percent. We wouldn’t be the team we are without her.

“I’m thankful for her defense,” Miller added. “Our team just hustles and gets those loose balls. That helps us run our offense on the other end, too.”

Puyallup head coach Cherokee Ainslie said the Vikings knew how to attack South Kitsap’s defense.

“We just came together as a team,” Ainslie said. “We wanted it, and we worked hard. It started clicking. They were looking for each other and playing selfless basketball. That’s what we needed.

“When our posts want the ball, it’s beautiful,” she said. “We realized if they were going to double down low on our posts, then our guards are going to attack. It was nice we were reading that tonight.”

QUARTERFINAL LOSS

The Skyview Storm denied Puyallup a berth in the state-regional round with a 52-37 victory Saturday night in the district quarterfinals.

Skyview outscored the Vikings 37-20 in the second half to pull away.

Jeffers scored 12 points to lead Puyallup. Picha, who added eight points, said her team let an opportunity slip away.

“It’s a pretty big loss,” Picha said. “It’s just a bummer. I’m pretty mad at myself right now. I feel bad for the seniors and want them to go as far as they can this year.”

Picha said the Vikings had a difficult time on the defensive end against the Storm.

“They were always pushing and always going at us,” she said. “We just couldn’t stop fouling, and they took advantage of that. They are a really great free throw-shooting team, and that won them the game.”

Puyallup faced the Auburn Riverside Ravens in a loser-out district playoff game on Tuesday after press time.

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