The Capital High School girls basketball team hosted Yelm on January 24, 2024, defeating the Tornadoes 46-32 in 3A WIAA South Sound Conference play. Yelm led early 13-9 with a strong first quarter. For Capital (4-9, 3-8 SSC), consistent team play and a change of defensive strategy in the second (23-19) and third quarters saw the Cougars hold a 15-point lead (39-24) heading into the fourth quarter where they held on for the win. Senior guard Aria Cornwall led the Cougars with 16 points. Yelm’s (5-11, 2-9 SSC) high scorer was Lilli Williams.

Wendy Carlson, head coach for Capital, thought it was a “team win” and was thrilled with her team’s effort. “Our defense was key as early we just were not playing our strongest and so we changed things up in the third quarter and it really made a difference for us,” Carlson proclaimed after the win. “I just keep telling the girls they need to compete every single game and show up and compete and ‘the sky’s the limit.’ We have been through a lot with injuries and each and every game these girls show up and keep competing whether we have 6 on the bench or 10 and they are just a great set of girls.”

Yelm head coach Jenn Sleeman lamented after the game and compared it to the season with many ups and downs. “We have been working on peaks and valleys all year and the season was like tonight, as we are either really high or we drop really low,” stated Sleeman. “Consistency in our play has been a struggle for us as we played really well against Gig [Harbor] earlier this week but we didn’t play like that tonight. I had some girls step up with a lot of leadership roles I appreciated and some girls are trying to do some little things here and there but we just need to make it more of a team effort.”

Both teams look to finish strong with three remaining games before State Districts. North Thurston (14-0, 11-0 SSC – State RPI #7) currently leads the league with Timberline (16-1, 10-1 SSC – State RPI #6) trailing by one game. The teams meet for a big head-to-head rematch on Thursday, February 1 at North Thurston to finish season play. Capital next hosts Gig Harbor (11-6. 8-3 SSC) who holds the third spot currently ahead of Peninsula (9-6, 7-5 SSC).

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