Girls basketball: Cruisers' state journey ends in SunDome defeat

Following their season-ending loss, the Eatonville Cruisers gathered for a team photo at the SunDome in Yakima.

Following their season-ending loss, the Eatonville Cruisers gathered for a team photo at the SunDome in Yakima.
Kahla Hall

In a captivating showdown on Wednesday evening at the SunDome in Yakima, the 13th-seeded Eatonville Lady Cruisers saw their remarkable journey in the state playoffs come to an end with a 53-40 defeat against the fourth-seeded King’s Knights.


The game kicked off with a commanding 8-0 run by King’s, appearing formidable as the Cruisers grappled with their opponent's relentless full-court press resulting in 8 early turnovers. However, the Lady Cruisers fought back, sparked by Lillian Bickford’s free throw, igniting a 7-0 surge that narrowed the gap to just one point. Despite the efforts, King’s closed the quarter with a 6-0 run, leading 14-7. Bailey Andersen led Eatonville with 5 points, despite facing double-teams for much of the quarter.

The Knights extended their lead to 9 points in the second quarter. Yet, the resilient Lady Cruisers, led by Andersen's impressive 10 points, staged a comeback. Andersen's crucial three-pointer trimmed the deficit, with King’s leading 25-22. Despite trailing, Eatonville entered the locker room with hope after outscoring the Knights 15-11 in the quarter.


Emerging from halftime with renewed energy, the Lady Cruisers surged forward. Quick free throws by Hailey Hall and a layup by Bickford propelled Eatonville into a brief lead at 26-25. However, King’s responded, finishing the quarter with a 9-2 run, leading 39-32 heading into the final frame.

The final quarter saw the Knights maintaining control, as a couple of 4-0 runs deflated the Cruisers. Despite their efforts, Eatonville could only muster three baskets and a couple of free throws, ultimately falling 53-40.

Head Coach Deanna Andersen expressed pride in her team's journey, noting their achievement in reaching the round of 12 in Yakima, a feat not accomplished since 2010. Despite the loss, she commended her players for their dedication and leadership throughout the season.

“I couldn’t ask for more from these ladies, they gave everything at practice and in games. They are part of building a bigger basketball community and have become leaders,” she said. “We were hit with some injuries and sickness going into playoffs and battled back to show how strong we can be. We earned our spot with every hard fought battle and to watch the team come together in the end was exciting. Watching different players take their turn to step up in different games leading us to those victories was a blessing.”


King’s standout Kaleo Andersen, the third-ranked girls’ player in the state and in the top 100 nationally, proved to be a challenge for the Lady Cruisers, scoring 30 points, albeit without hitting a three-pointer against Eatonville, the only team to accomplish this in the tournament.

Bailey Andersen led Eatonville with 19 points, supported by Bickford's 9 points and Sara Smith's 6 points in her final game. Hailey Hall led in rebounds with 6 while also contributing 4 points. Alayna Meyer rounded out the scoring with 2 points.

Eatonville concludes the season with a 19-8 record, securing second place in the 1A Evergreen League and third place in the District 4 tournament. Additionally, six players were honored with All-League recognition.


Reflecting on the season, Coach Andersen expressed gratitude for her team's resilience and praised the departing seniors for their invaluable contributions, acknowledging the challenges they overcame and the legacy they leave behind.

“We will miss our seniors immensely. Ryan, Sara, Kyleigh, Ella, and Chloe were integral parts of our success and will leave big holes for us to fill.”


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