Cruisers' upset of Seton Catholic continues historic run

The Eatonville girls basketball team, along with coaches and cheerleaders, pose following their 40-36 upset victory over the Seton Catholic Cougars.

The Eatonville girls basketball team, along with coaches and cheerleaders, pose following their 40-36 upset victory over the Seton Catholic Cougars.
Kahla Hall

After defeating the Elma Eagles 50-44 to clinch the team’s first state tournament berth since 2014, the Lady Cruisers set their sights on the Seton Catholic Cougars. The Cougars, who defeated the Cruisers 65-55 in the quarterfinals of the district playoffs, would be Eatonville’s opening round opponent in the 2024 WIAA 1A Girls Basketball State tournament.

Despite trailing by as many as six points in the opening minutes of their first round game against Seton Catholic, the Lady Cruisers battled back in a game that saw 18 lead changes. The Cruisers held the Cougars to only three points in the final period to upset the District 4 champions, 40-36, and advance to the round of 12 for the first time since 2010.

The Cougars would jump out to an early 4-0 lead after a handful of Cruiser turnovers and would carry that lead into the start of the second, up 12-8.

Two quick steal and scores by Bailey Andersen and Ryan Stammen to open up the second quarter would set the tone for the Cruisers. Eatonville would capitalize on nine Cougar turnovers in the second quarter that would allow them to go on a 7-0 run and outscore the Cougars in the period 14-9 to take grab the lead at 22-21 heading into the half.

The third quarter would see seven lead changes as the two teams traded buckets and the lead before Seton Catholic closed out the quarter on a 4-0 run to head into the final frame up 3 at 33-30.

The final period was the difference in the game. The Cruisers surged ahead at the start of the quarter with an impressive 5-0 run, claiming the lead. However, Seton Catholic's Madison Lee swiftly responded with a clutch 3-pointer, swinging the advantage back to the Cougars at 36-35. With just 2 minutes remaining, the Cruisers found themselves trailing by a single point. Their defense then delivered a crucial stop, allowing Stammen to snatch the rebound and swiftly pass to Andersen. Andersen drove all the way to the basket, sinking a decisive layup, propelling the Cruisers to a 37-36 lead with 1 minute and 45 seconds left on the clock.

In the subsequent possessions, the Cougars missed a couple of shots, and Andersen's aggressive drive ended in an offensive charge, turning over possession to the Cougars with only 56 seconds remaining. Following a timeout, the Cougars committed a costly turnover and then fouled Andersen, earning their 5th team foul. Andersen capitalized on the opportunity, sinking both free throws and extending the Cruisers' lead to 39-36 with 40 seconds left.

Seton Catholic regrouped with a full timeout to strategize their offense. Despite their efforts, they missed a few 3-pointers, leading to a rebound by the Cruisers and a subsequent turnover on an errant pass out of bounds. With just 5.9 seconds remaining, Eatonville gained possession leading 39-36. Head Coach Deanna Andersen called a timeout to orchestrate a play, emphasizing ball security.

On the inbound play, Stammen passed to Andersen, who was immediately fouled, stopping the clock and sending her to the free-throw line for two shots. Although she missed the front end, Andersen composed herself and made the crucial back end, giving the Cruisers a 4-point lead at 40-36 with only 5 seconds remaining. Seton Catholic attempted a desperation half-court shot that missed the mark, and Hailey Hall secured the rebound as the clock expired, igniting celebrations for the victorious Cruisers and their fans.

Andersen lead Eatonville with an impressive 20 points. Despite the team shooting only 31% from the field and making just half of their free throws (10 of 20), Eatonville managed to secure victory by dominating the turnover battle, winning 20-29.

Andersen made shutting down Seton’s 3-point shooting as a priority coming into this game.

“We played more of a 2-3 defense against them last time and they shot the lights out from beyond the arc. We switched it up this time and played a 3-1-1, that allowed our guards to match up better on the outside and it forced them to try and beat us inside,” she said.

The perimeter defenders did an incredible job containing Lee, who led the Cougars with 12. The interior defense did a great job as well.

“Lillian and Sara did an incredible job containing Riley (Seymer). They limited her touches and held her to only 10 points on the night after dropping 24 on us the last time, added Andersen.

She also praised Kyleigh Backlund coming off the bench.

“Kyleigh gave us a real spark off the bench to keep our energy high. It was a physical game and took a lot of energy to push through,” Andersen said.


Bailey Andersen 20, Hailey Hall 5, Sara Smith 5, Lillian Bickford, 4 Ryan Stammen 4, Alayna Meyer 2.

This triumph propels the Cruisers (19-7) to the round of 12, where they faced off against the King’s Knights (16-10) on Feb. 28 at 7:15 p.m. in the Yakima Valley SunDome. This crucial matchup is a loser-out contest, adding extra intensity to the game.


The previous week, in a thrilling matchup, the Lady Cruiser punched their ticket to the state tournament by defeating the Elma Eagles with a final score of 50-44. The game showcased the Cruisers' resilience and teamwork as they navigated through tough challenges posed by the Eagles.

Eatonville surged ahead with a commanding 9-0 run at the start of the game, prompting Elma head coach Brandi Henry to call a timeout, aiming to halt the Cruiser's momentum and gather her team. Following the timeout, the Eagles responded with a 9-4 run of their own, narrowing the gap to just four points, with Eatonville leading 13-9 at the end of the quarter. Notably, Bailey Andersen contributed 9 points to the Cruisers' score during this stretch.

Eatonville would open up the 2nd quarter with three quick points thanks to free throws from Lillian Bickford and Hailey Hall to stretch the Cruiser lead to 7. Elma would battle back and outscore Eatonville 12-7 to finish out the quarter and cut into the Cruiser lead. As the halftime approached, Eatonville maintained a narrow lead of 23-21, propelled by Bickford's impressive 10 points, while Elma would hold Andersen scoreless.

The third quarter saw Eatonville extend their lead to 9 points with a couple of 5-0 runs. Hailey Hall emerged as a key offensive player for Eatonville, scoring 6 of the team's 13 points in the quarter; while once again, Elma was able to hold Andersen scoreless. The quarter ended with Eatonville ahead 36-29.

In the final quarter, after being held scoreless in the previous two periods, Andersen made her presence felt by converting six free throws out of twelve trips to the line, helping the Cruisers seal the victory and a trip to the state tournament.

Bickford delivered a standout performance with a career-high 17 points.

The game showcased Eatonville's depth, with three players recording double-doubles and one nearly achieving a triple-double. Alongside Bickford's impressive display, Andersen tallied 15 points and 12 rebounds, falling just short of a triple-double with 9 steals. Hall contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Sara Smith's defensive prowess stood out with 9 rebounds and 3 points. Stammen also made significant defensive contributions with 5 steals.

“I couldn’t be more proud of how well these girls handled themselves in stressful situations,” Andersen said. “Having to play Elma a third time is tough, especially when both teams know what they will be facing.”

Andersen commended her other players after Elma was able to shut down Andersen in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. “They had a three person rotation to try and shut down Bailey so we looked to our other players to really step up and fill the void. Luckily everyone played their roles and we made some plays work.”

“Both Lillian and Hailey stepped up in the quarters that Bailey was quiet to keep us rolling. Sara controlled under the hoop and didn’t let them have anything easy.”


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment