Bryan Peterson presented the whole deal truthfully – and in its entirety.
A trip to Eatonville is not just any road game. And Peterson told his girls on the Cascade Christian basketball team that earning a victory in Cruiser country would be a heck of an accomplishment.
The No. 2 Cougars did just that, recovering from a brief fourth-quarter deficit to beat 10th-ranked Eatonville, 49-43.
The win puts the Cougars (13-0, 9-0 in 1A Nisqually) in the driver’s seat for their third consecutive league title – and first one outright. They have shared it with Seattle Christian the past two seasons.
And the bonus of winning the Nisqually 1A is earning an automatic berth to the regional tournament.
This was a difficult hurdle to clear first. Peterson and his staff knew it, too, as they came up and watched Eatonville on Friday, more to get a feel of the overall environment.
“We saw the raucous (marching) band. They were loud and having fun,” Peterson said. “I sold it as a road trip to a hostile environment … and knew we’d find out what we were made of.”
The Cruisers (10-3, 7-3) wiped out a six-point deficit late in the third quarter to take a 40-39 lead on Kayley Bass’ free throw with 3:34 to go.
Kaycee Creech, the Cougars’ senior forward, came up big. She scored a game-high 30 points. She sank four 3-pointers. And her steal and bucket gave Cascade Christian the lead back, 41-40.
Eatonville eventually tied it at 43-43 on Kaelyn Voss’ three free throws with 2:04 remaining, but Creech answered with a spin move in the lane, and banking in a 6-footer to give the Cougars the lead for good, 45-43, on their next possession.
The Cruisers went scoreless the final 2:04, and sent Cascade Christian to the free-throw line 15 times in the fourth quarter (7-of-15).