By Leah Traxel
Once the battle for third place was over – a Wilson 51-30 victory over Bellevue in the Class 3A girls’ state championships – Rams’ post player Tia Briggs summed up the win-after-a-tough-loss experience in one word.
“Bittersweet,” she said.
The fourth-ranked Rams were fiery, not flat Saturday in steamrolling the upstart Wolverines, who knocked off No. 1 Prairie in the 3A regional tournament last weekend.
On Friday, Wilson lost a 10-point lead in the second half to eventual 3A runner-up Seattle Prep, only to think it tied the game at the end of regulation on Bethany Montgomery’s 3-pointer with two seconds to go.
But an official overruled it, and called it a long two-pointer – spelling doom for Wilson.
Montgomery was issued a technical foul for taking off her jersey after the officials’ ruling. She did not start Saturday, and sat most of the first half because of her antics – a decision made by coach Michelle Birge.
In the game for third place, the Rams (23-3) jumped out to another big lead – 13 points. This time, they kept it over the No. 3 Wolverines (25-4).
“It was good to leave on a positive note,” Briggs said.
Briggs led a 9-0 run in the second quarter that gave Wilson a 27-14 halftime lead. She scored four of her 16 points during the decisive spurt.
Third place is the Rams’ highest finish ever at the state tournament. This was their first trip to the Tacoma Dome.
“We all believed we’d be in the championship. We were heartbroken,” Birge said. “We came in relaxed and ready to play.”