Photo by Sarah Rath
Coach Swartout gives some last minute instructions to the Lady Cruisers before their 44-34 victory over Orting on Wednesday night.
Photo by Sarah Rath Coach Swartout gives some last minute instructions to the Lady Cruisers before their 44-34 victory over Orting on Wednesday night.
Rivalries are always fun. Anytime the Cruisers and the Cardinals play each other, it is always a big game. However, when they play each other in the playoffs, the game seems to get a little bit bigger.
In one of their biggest games of the season, the Lady Cruisers exerted their defensive muscle on the Cardinals to help them come away with a 44-34 victory in front of a huge crowd of Eatonville fans to advance to the 2nd round of the West Central District 2A tournament this past Wednesday night in Orting.
You knew the crowds were going to be raucous when the starting line ups were announced.
Both student sections for each school joined their respective cheerleaders on the court to form the tunnel the players would run through during introductions. You knew at that point; the crowds were really going to be into the game. From that point on, the student sections would battle each other all night to be the loudest.
“It was an incredible atmosphere”. “It was a blast”. “I have never been to a game with that much electricity”. Those were just a few of the quotes I heard from faculty members and parents after the game.
Head coach Erik Swartout loved the crowds as well. “That was one of the best high school basketball atmospheres I’ve seen in a long time, boys or girls. It was great to see both teams have large student sections. It created an extremely fun environment to play in”.
The Cruiser defense would open the game being very aggressive and trapping the ball handler continuously. This seemed to work as the Cardinals would turn the ball over often.
“We knew it was going to be a high energy game from the beginning. Our goal was to be really aggressive on defense and create turnovers. We did a great job of that” said Swartout.
Swartout would rely on his bench early in the game. “Over the course of the season our bench growth has gotten a lot deeper. We had two key players go down this year (Sophia Henley and Brooke Blocker) and it’s been great to see some girls step up and fill those roles. We knew we were going to have to rely on our bench to keep everyone as fresh as possible for the second half”.
The Cruisers would jump out to a 6-point lead at the end of the 1st, 16-10 behind Kya Stewart’s 8 points.
The 2nd quarter is when the Cruisers would put the game away so to speak. They would hold the Cardinals to only 7 points in the quarter as they extended their lead to 14 at the half, 31-17.
Just like any rivalry game, no lead is safe. The Cardinals would claw their way back into the game in the 3rd quarter where they would hold the Cruisers to 3 lone points as they closed the gap to 6, trailing 34-28.
Hailey Rath would hit two clutch 3-pointers in the 4th quarter to help the Cruisers extend their lead to 10 points and go on to pick up the victory 44-34.
“That was one of the best high school basketball atmospheres I’ve seen in a long time, boys or girls. It was great to see both teams have large student sections. It created an extremely fun environment to play in”.
Scoring Stats: H. Rath 16, K. Stewart 16, B. Lucht 4, A. Hutchings 3, M. Dunbar 2, E. Bennett 2, G. Mervyn 1
The Cruisers advance to the 2nd round of the West Central District tournament and played the Port Angeles Roughriders on Friday February 14th. Game results and stats weren’t available at the time of printing.