By Todd Milles
Second-ranked trailed heading into the final quarter, but pulled out of it going on a 6-0 run in the first 65 seconds to take the lead for good – and a 52-43 victory over third-ranked Bellevue in the Class 3A girls’ basketball semifinals at the Tacoma Dome on Friday night.
Alexia Mefi’s fastbreak lay-up capped a 6-0 run that gave Cleveland a 40-37 lead with 6:55 to go.
And Makala Roper’s 3-pointer was the dagger, extending the Eagles’ lead to 48-41 at the 3:03 mark. Roper finished with a team-high 14 points.
“We had to figure it out,” Cleveland coach Stephanie Wheeler-Smith said. “We had to remind them there’s a lot of basketball to be played.”
The Eagles won the 3A title in 2010 over Holy Names Academy – and now face another Metro League rival for the crown. It will be the fourth Cleveland-Seattle Prep meeting, with the Eagles winning the previous three close games.
“Hey, bring it on,” Wheeler-Smith said. “Not surprised they (Panthers) are here.”