Eatonville's Sara Smith scores against Hoquiam in a game earlier this season. Smith's 12 points led the Cruisers in their loss against Montesano.
The Lady Cruiser opened up their second half of the 1A Evergreen League play just as it started, with a match up with the Montesano Bulldogs. This time a shot at a league title was on the line. Unfortunately, the outcome this time mirrored the first encounter, with the Bulldogs emerging victorious, 58-39.
The Cruisers would struggle in the first with turnovers. They would cough the ball up 10 times in the quarter allowing the Bulldogs to pull ahead. A 10-0 run by Montesano to end the quarter gave them a 19-7 lead heading into the second.
Eatonville’s Lillian Bickford would get into foul trouble early in the half with four fouls, forcing Head Coach Deanna Andersen to sit her for most of the second quarter. Montesano would continue to build on their lead, outscoring the Cruisers 13-5 to take a comfortable 32-12 lead into halftime.
Eatonville would battle back in the third quarter behind Sara Smith’s 5 points to outscore the Bulldogs 12-11 and trim the lead ever so slightly and trail 43-24 heading into the final quarter.
Eatonville starters Ryan Stammen and Lillian Bickford would both foul out of the game in the first minute of the second half, hampering the Cruisers offensively. Ultimately, Smith and the Cruisers’ effort was not enough to bring Eatonville back as they fell, 58-39.
“We struggled with a few things, turning the ball over early was a big one,” Head Coach Deanna Andersen said.
Smith lead Eatonville with 12 points, 11 of them coming in the second half. Bailey Andersen was held to her lowest output of the season with 9 points while Alayna Meyer contributed with 7, all in the second half.
“We just need to refocus and win our final three games and earn that trip to the post season,” said Andersen.
She was referring to the Southwestern Washington District 4 playoffs. The Cruisers are currently sitting in 2nd place in league and control their own destiny. If they win out, they will clinch second place and the No. 2 seed to the district playoffs and will host their first round game.
After that setback against Montesano, refocus is exactly what the Lady Cruisers did in their final game of the week, a rematch with the Tenino Beavers, a team that the Cruisers manhandled 54-18 earlier in the season.
Eatonville dominated the game winning 62-15.
The Lady Cruisers' offense played one of the best games of the season so far, boasting a scorching 63% shooting accuracy from the field.
Defensively, the Cruiser squad, led by standout performances from Andersen, who notched an impressive 11 steals, and Stammen, who contributed 8 steals, demonstrated their prowess by forcing an outstanding 37 turnovers from the Tenino side.
"The girls did a better job of stopping the passing lanes and reading the offense. Aside from Bailey and Ryan’s steals, Alayna and Hailey got their hands on a lot of passes which tends to rattle the other teams' confidence,” said coach Andersen.
Ten different players contributed to Eatonville's offensive onslaught. Notably, Bailey Andersen led the scoring charge with 23 points and 5 rebounds. Alayna Meyer contributed 8 points and 4 rebounds, while Hailey Hall's continued dominance in the paint was evident with 7 points and 7 rebounds.
As a team, the Lady Cruisers asserted their dominance on the boards, pulling down a total of 29 rebounds.
With this win, the Lady Cruisers improved their overall record to 13-6 and a 4-2 standing in Evergreen League play. Positioned in second place, Eatonville is poised for success in their final two games against the Hoquiam Grizzlies and the Elma Eagles, both teams they previously defeated handily earlier in the season.
Looking ahead, the Lady Cruisers will host the Hoquiam Grizzlies on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 5:30 p.m. for Senior Night (results not available at posting). The regular season will conclude with an away game against the Elma Eagles at 5:30 p.m on Friday.