In the first few minutes, Bears’ coach Freddie Rehkow noticed awestruck post player Madison Hovren wandering a bit, looking up at the ceiling of the Tacoma Dome.
Rehkow yelled, “Move!”
It did not take long for the ninth grader to get her head back in the game, and acclimated to the big stage. She scored 18 points, matched only by teammate Brooke Gallaway as the fourth-ranked Bears cruised to their ninth semifinal in school history.
The Wolves made comebacks in spurts, mainly off their fullcourt zone pressure. And needing one more to get back into the game, they appeared to be headed that way when they forced a turnover, then Ellie Mortensen hit a 3-pointer to cut the Bears’ lead to 44-37 with 4:15 to go.
And after Central Valley handed the ball right back to them, Eastlake got the ball in guard Bella Zennan’s hands – only to have Hovren grab it and take off.
“If she just puts the ball out there,” Hovren said, “I am going to take it.”
After Zennan fouled her, Hovren hit two free throws. Twenty five seconds later, she sank a 6-foot shot along the baseline, and Central Valley was in control, up 48-37.
“I am not going to lie,” Rehkow said. “There were nerves.”
Kendra Morrison led the Wolves with 15 points, but Eastlake committed 24 turnovers.