Mount Tahoma High School girls basketball coach Calvin McHenry laid out for his team the attributes that define good basketball teams during the postseason.
That’s why it pained him a bit more when his Thunderbirds couldn’t make those words translate on the court in their Class 3A West Central District tournament game on Tuesday night at Franklin Pierce High School.
Mount Tahoma struggled on the defensive end and failed to convert from the free throw line late in the game in a 66-60 season-ending loss to Kennedy Catholic.
The T-Birds shot a dismal 6-of-17 from the FT line in the fourth quarter.
“I talked about what Phil Jackson and Mike Krzyzewski both say … the No. 1 thing that determines who wins playoff games is who makes the free throws and who doesn’t,” McHenry said. “And we didn’t, so we lost.”
Locked in a back-and-forth battle with the Lancers throughout the fourth quarter, the T-Birds cut the Lancer lead to 55-53 with 3 minutes, 21 seconds left on a bucket by Rejie Wright down low. But that’s as close as they got, as the deficit bounced between two and four points in the final three minutes as Mount Tahoma failed to capitalize on its opportunities.
“My best kids — the kids I wanted on (the line) — were missing,” he said. “If we’d had converted those free throws, it would have been a different game at the end.”
Mount Tahoma (9-12) also failed to contain Celestina Ramirez, Kennedy Catholic’s 5-foot-2 point guard. The senior torched the defense for a game-high 26 points — 15 coming in the second half.