1A Girls State: Meridian Comeback Falls Short In 41-33 Loss

The Meridian girls basketball team came out cold and by the time the Trojans got warmed up it was too late as they fell to Medical Lake, 41-33, in the Class 1A state quarterfinals Thursday afternoon in the Yakima SunDome.

With the loss, seventh-seeded Meridian (19-6) moves into the consolation bracket, where it will play fifth-seeded Elma (21-4) in a loser-out game on Friday at 10:30 a.m. But with a win Friday, Meridian will still earn a trophy and will play for fourth place on Saturday.

For updated stories and pictures from the 1A and 2A state tournaments, keep checking www.whatcomhoops.com.

Still, Thursday’s loss was hard to take especially since the Trojans had their worst offensive game of the season at the wrong time. They committed 21 turnovers, only shot 24 percent from the field and had their lowest point production of the season.

“I don’t think I can watch that game film until we get home,” said Meridian coach Mark Gilmore. “But our defense kept us in the game. And they never give up.”

That’s for sure
Despite struggling on almost every possession — they only scored five points in the first quarter and four in the third — the Trojans rallied from 10 points down with four minutes to go to cut the lead to 37-33, thanks to four free throws by freshman Skyleigh James and another free throw by another freshman, Finnley Claeys.

It looked like the miracle comeback might happen … except two more Meridian turnovers happened and the Cardinals held on for the win.

“A lot of our shots weren’t going in (early in the game), and we got discouraged,” said junior center Jolee Sipma, who led Meridian with 12 hard-earned points and also had eight rebounds. “In the fourth quarter we started to hit them. We just couldn’t keep it going.”

Sipma had a 12-footer and a 3-pointer to spark a 15-point fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough. James added eight points for the game, but no other Trojan had more than four points.

Lindsey Moore and James led Meridian with nine rebounds each as the Trojans’ defense did its job, outrebounding Medical Lake, 48-35, and forcing the Cardinals into 30 percent shooting.

“They worked hard, but just couldn’t pull it off,” said Gilmore. “We did a good job getting here (to state), and I told them we can still take one of the top four trophies in the state.”

Sipma was already looking ahead to the team’s next game.

“We don’t give up,” she said. “We’ll be fine. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

Medical Lake 41, Meridian 33
Medical Lake                14        8        8        11 — 41
Meridian                         5        9        4        15 — 33

Medical Lake: Emily Munson 5, Jaycee Oliver 8, Jessica Lohman 9, Laxyn Farmen 6, Lexie Redell 9, Ally Duncan, Ellie Accord 2, Emma Maxwell 2, Raylene Harris.

Meridian: Madeline Bowler, Amanda Schleimer 2, Finnley Claeys 3, Makenna Holz 2, Lexi Groen 2, Lindsey Moore 4, Jolee Sipma 12, Skyleigh James 8, Elander Zander.

Shooting: FG—ML 15-51 29.4, Mer 11-46 23.9; FT— ML 9-18 50.0, Mer 9-12 75.0; 3 PT—ML 2-16 12.5 (Oliver 1, Redell 1), Mer 2-9 22.2 (Sipma 2). Rebounds: ML 35 (Lohman 9), Mer 48 (Moore 9, James 9). Fouls: ML 11, Mer 18. Assists: ML 6 (Lohman 2, Redell 2), Mer 7 (Bowler 3). Turnovers: ML 11, Mer 21. Blocks: ML 1 (Farmen 1), Mer 0. Steals: ML 12 (Lohman 3), Mer 8 (Moore 4).

(With RPI seedings)
Regionals (Friday, Feb. 22)
#1 LaSalle 50, #8 King’s 27
#4 Cashmere 47, #5 Elma 34
#9 Medical Lake 42, #16 King’s Way Christian 31 (loser out)
#10 Freeman 62, vs. #15 Connell 42 (loser out)
#13 Overlake 44, #12 Granger 33 (loser out)

Regionals (Saturday, Feb. 23)
#3 Lynden Christian 77,  #6 Annie Wright 59
#7 Meridian 40, #2 Bellevue Christian 26
#11 Zillah 64, #14 Montesano 41 (loser out)
At Yakima SunDome

State play-in games (Wednesday, Feb. 27)
Annie Wright 71, Zillah 67 (loser out)
Bellevue Christian 50, Freeman 43 (loser out)
Elma 42, Overlake 30 (loser out)
Medical Lake 49, King’s 36 (loser out)

Quarterfinals (Thursday, Feb. 28)
Cashmere 62, Annie Wright 41
LaSalle 61, Bellevue Christian 21
Lynden Christian 55, Elma 25
Medical Lake 41, Meridian 33

Consolation semifinals (Friday, March 1)
Annie Wright (21-5) vs. Bellevue Christian (22-4), 9 a.m. (loser out)
Elma (22-4) vs. Meridian (19-6), 10:30 a.m. (loser out)

Semifinals (Friday, March 1)
Cashmere (22-2) vs. LaSalle (25-0), 3:45 p.m.
Lynden Christian (22-3) vs. Medical Lake (20-6), 5:30 p.m.

Fourth-sixth place game (Saturday, March 2)
8 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)

Consolation final (Saturday, March 2)
11:15 a.m. (winner third, loser fifth)

Championship game (Saturday, March 2)
3 p.m. (winner first, loser second)

(Full schedule and bracket at nwcathletics.com)
Jim Carberry is a former Bellingham Herald sports editor and author of several books on Whatcom County prep basketball. Follow him on Twitter @whatcomhoops and visit the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.

Jim Carberry of Whatcom Hoops

Jim Carberry is a former Bellingham Herald sports editor and author of several books on Whatcom County prep basketball. Follow him on Twitter @whatcomhoops and visit the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.

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