KIRKLAND — In the moments following Saturday’s showdown with Skyline, Bothell senior Taya Corosdale cast attention away from the biggest factor in the Cougars’ victory in the conference semifinals at Lake Washington High School.
She talked about playing smart on defense, about the pressure of an undefeated conference record and about having a week off before such a big contest.
She never mentioned she went for 30 points.
And behind Corosdale’s near-career performance — 31 is her career-high — the Bothell High girls basketball team rallied from a halftime deficit to beat Skyline, 63-58, and advance to the Class 4A KingCo Conference title game.
“She’s not afraid to lift other people up and do it for her team,” Bothell coach Kent Shaefer said. “I don’t think she does it for herself. She’s always team-first, and I think when she has games like that, she concedes that she’s got to play off everybody else. I feel like she did tonight, for sure. She was pretty great.”
Corosdale, who is headed to play for Oregon State University next year, sparked a third-quarter comeback as the Cougars (19-2) battled back from a 28-24 halftime deficit. Corosdale scored 16 of her 30 points in the second half, including nine of Bothell’s 20 points in the third period.
Senior Sydney Cowan scored back-to-back buckets at the rim to give Bothell a 34-33 lead midway through the quarter period, and Jada Romulus went end-to-end to break a tie headed to the fourth. The Cougars controlled the game down the stretch, but the early struggles forced Bothell out of its comfort zone.
“Coming off a week of just practice, I expected it to be a fight,” Corosdale said. “I didn’t expect it to be an easy win. It’s not always an easy win for us. We like to make it interesting.”
The Cougars picked up 10 teams fouls with six minutes remaining in the second quarter. Cowan had three and Corosdale had two, and both post players spent time on the bench in foul trouble.
Bothell dropped into a zone defense, let up on the throttle on offense to close out the quarter and came out of halftime with a different focus.
“We didn’t really make adjustments, it was more about being patient and taking our time with things,” senior guard Keyonna Jones said. “When we rush, we’re not a good team, but when we take our time and actually pass the ball and look for the open shot, that’s when we’re the best and that’s what we turned around at halftime.”
Jones finished with 11 points and played a major role in setting Corosdale up for success, helping the Cougars settle into a solid half-court offense.
“We want to play fast, but we’ve got to play under control,” Shaefer said. “I felt like, tonight, we played fast and out of control. She got us back in control. She’s so strong with the basketball, but I think the thing for her is a lot of times she forces some stuff that isn’t there. She hasn’t been doing that lately.”
Jones has dropped her scoring average over the last 10 games, falling from 18.1 per game to 14.8, but the Cougars continue to score near their average as a team.
“I’ve been working on it in practice because, usually, I want to attack, attack attack,” Jones said. “Now I’m trying to come in and be that point guard and get the ball to whoever is open. Taya had 30 tonight, and it was because we were able to see her and get her the ball where she likes it to get those easy buckets.”
Now, the Cougars have a rematch with Woodinville in the tournament championship game, set for 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 16 at Lake Washington High School. Bothell swept the season series, but both games were decided by two possessions or less and Woodinville has held Bothell below its season average of 62.1 points in both games.
The winner moves on to the regional games, while the loser will play either Eastlake or Skyline for the last spot in the regional round.
Bothell made the quarterfinals of the state tournament last season and placed fifth, the best finish in school history.