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Puyallup, sickness can't slow Inglemoor's run to the state tournament

Inglemoor sophomore Mackenzie Gardner swings a pass to the outside during the team
Inglemoor sophomore Mackenzie Gardner swings a pass to the outside during the team's game against Puyallup Saturday night at Bothell High School.
— image credit: Matt Phelps/Bothell Reporter

Despite battling sickness, injury and a court that has not been very welcoming to the Inglemoor girls basketball team, the Vikings dominated Puyallup Saturday night at Bothell High School to advance to the state tournament.

Inglemoor used hot outside shooting and good defense to earn a 60-38 victory and earned the right to play at the Tacoma Dome during the elite eight next week.

"It is never easy," said Inglemoor head coach John Augustavo. "We generally don't play well in this gymnasium but we came out with a lot of energy and we need to continue to do that."

The team from Kenmore began the game with a 7-0 run, but Puyallup hung in, trailing just 12-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Inglemoor put distance between themselves and their opponents, as they built a 30-14 lead by halftime with outside shooting.

The team rained down four three-pointers during the half, as Jordana Price led the team with eight points during he first half.

But it was stifling defense that made the biggest difference. Puyallup had three separate two-minute runs with no points scored during the first half.

"This is a good team," said Augustavo of Puyallup. "But we have been practicing hard and we needed to play with a lot of energy."

Despite battling the flu, Inglemoor senior Deja Strother made her presence known in the middle by picking up four blocked shots during the first 16 minutes of the game. Strother led her team with 12 points, but Inglemoor did a good job of distributing the ball. Mackenzie Gardner finished with nine points, while teammates Alex Hagen, Kennedy Nicholas and Price all finished with eight points each.

The second half was more of the same, as the team from Kenmore opened the third quarter with a 12-4 run that sank any chance for a Puyallup comeback.

The win for Inglemoor comes on the heels of the team's second consecutive 4A KingCo tournament title.

"It means a lot to us to win KingCo because it is such a hard league," said Augustavo. "To get that banner is a big deal and prepares us for what comes after."

The team also advances to the state tournament for the second year in a row, where the competition will get a lot tougher.

"We have to get healthy," said Augustavo. "We have a lot of sick players. If we can get everyone up, we will be pretty tough to beat."

Inglemoor finished the regular season with a 12-2 record and won the Crest Division title. The win against Puyallup improves the team's overall record to 21-3.

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