The Capital High School girls basketball team’s 10-year state playoff drought has officially ended.
Nicole Lindblom scored a game-high 20 points, Raegen Henry added 10 points and 7 rebounds, and the No. 12 Cougars beat No. 13 Wilson, 59-35, in the regional round of the 3A state tournament at Tumwater High School on February 29.
With the victory, Capital (19-6) secures its first state playoff berth since 2010. The Cougars will face No. 5 Shorecrest (21-3) in a loser-out game at the Tacoma Dome on March 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
The Cougars have certainly showed their gumption this postseason. After losing their opening round game in the 3A West Central District tournament to Hudson’s Bay, Capital won back-to-back loser-out games, defeating Bonney Lake (43-41) and Yelm (49-46), before putting away Wilson at regionals.
The Cougars and Rams (17-8) played the previous week in a district seeding game with Wilson prevailing, 50-46.
The rematch was shaping up to be a mirror image of that tight contest before the Cougars clamped down defensively in the second half.
Wilson led 22-21 at the break, but were held to just three points in the third quarter as Capital broke the game open with a 20-point frame to take a comfortable 41-25 cushion into the fourth quarter. The Rams were unable to get the deficit to under double digits the rest of the way as the Cougars limited them to a season low in points.
In addition to notching her ninth 20-point game this season, Lindblom also finished with 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists. The Cougars also received 8 points from Amelia Grimsted.
Lindblom and Henry were both named to the all-3A South Sound Conference first-team, while fellow senior Kyra Ashton received second-team honors and Tiffany Twiddy was recognized as the conference’s coach of the year.
The Cougars will square off against a Shorecrest squad which shared the 3A Wesco championship this year with Arlington. The Scots went 19-1 during the regular season and took a 14-game winning streak into the District 1 title game before losing to Arlington, 50-34.
Shorecrest dropped its second straight game during the regional round, losing, 78-49, to No. 4 Mount Spokane.
The winner will advance to play Arlington (22-2) in the quarterfinals on March 5.
The Wolves, seeded No. 9, defeated No. 16 North Kitsap, 66-46, while No. 3 Tumwater edged sixth-seeded Port Angeles, 58-57, in regionals.
Both programs got huge offensive performances from sophomore posts with Addie Ainsworth scoring 28 points in Black Hills’ triumph over the Vikings and Natalie Sumrock going for 27 points in the Thunderbirds’ victory over the Rough Riders.
The Wolves (18-6) play West Valley of Spokane (18-5) in the opening round of the state tournament on March 4 at the Yakima SunDome with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals to face 2A Evergreen Conference foe W.F. West. The Wolves and the No. 7 Bearcats have played three times this year with Black Hills winning two out of the three games.
The two teams split the regular season matchups with the Wolves winning 67-61 on January 8 and W.F. West taking the second meeting, 42-25, on January 22. Black Hills won the third encounter, besting the Bearcats, 38-35, in the 2A District 4 championship game on February 21.
This marks the seventh consecutive state playoff appearance for the Wolves, who will be looking to secure a trophy for the fifth straight year. Black Hills finished sixth at last year’s state tournament. The Wolves also placed fourth in 2018, fifth in 2017 and sixth in 2016.
Tumwater, which is making its first state tournament trip since 2011 when it placed fourth, received a first-round bye and will begin its quest toward a state title on March 5.
In addition to Sumrock’s efforts against Port Angeles, the T-Birds also received 14 points from Olivia Bailon and 9 for sophomore Aubrey Amendala, who shared the EvCo MVP honors with Black Hills senior Megan River this season.
Tumwater (23-2) has won 11 out of their last 12 games with its only setback coming during a 66-53 loss to Black Hills in the second round of the district tournament.
Tumwater will play the winner of the loser-out game between No. 4 White River (23-4) and No. 13 East Valley of Yakima (16-7). The Hornets, champions of the 2A South Puget Sound League, lost to No. 5 Burlington Edison, 59-55, in the regional round, while the Red Devils defeated No. 12 Renton, 51-30.