The goals – and stakes – will be much greater down the line.
But for one night, in the second week of the season, the city’s top two girls’ basketball programs met for a Narrows League crossover game that gave the winners something to smile about.
It was pretty much all Wilson High School – the No. 3 team in Class 3A – in its home gymnasium, too. The Rams built a huge cushion early en route to a 70-50 victory over Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma on Friday night.
Tia Briggs led all scorers with 18 points for Wilson. Bethany Montgomery added 17 – nine coming in the first 2:55 of the game. Her driving basket off a pass from Kaysha Fox gave the Rams a 12-0 lead.
And for the entire first quarter, Wilson’s fullcourt pressure sent the Lions, who are ranked 10th in Class 4A, into ball-handling chaos. They had 12 first-quarter turnovers.
“We wanted to run, and we ran,” Wilson coach Michelle Birge said. “And when we ran, we were good. … It put them on their heels, which is good for us.”
Yet, both teams could take a few things away from that opening quarter – one that saw Wilson lead 26-5 at the end of it – to work on.
For the Rams, they seemed to always be on the edge of being aggressive with their pressure, and committing silly fouls. Bellarmine Prep was on the foul-shooting bonus at the 3:06 mark of the first quarter.
“At times, individual things got in the way,” Birge said. “The goal isn’t to just win ballgames. The goal is to be smart.”
Bellarmine Prep had not played until a victory a week ago against Auburn Riverside. Lions coach Kevin Meines said his team did not have a good week of practice – and it showed Friday.
Four of their first five possessions resulted in a turnover. Their first two field goal attempts never even hit the rim. And they did not score until reserve Courtney Schwan’s basket at the 4:55 mark of the opening quarter.
It was Bellarmine Prep’s only bucket. The team was 1-for-9 shooting in the first quarter.
“In the grand scheme of things, it is a non-league game. But it exposed some weaknesses,” Meines said. “If going through that gets us better at the end of the day, I’ll go through it.”