Warrior girls tackle second SeaTac title

Lady Warrior Megan Morris drives to the hoop after stealing the ball away from a Puget Sound Adventist player Tuesday. King’s West won 53-46. - Photob by Jesse Beals
Lady Warrior Megan Morris drives to the hoop after stealing the ball away from a Puget Sound Adventist player Tuesday. King’s West won 53-46.
— image credit: Photob by Jesse Beals

They did it again.

Surprise, surprise, a King’s West girls basketball team which was supposed to be depleted by graduation, completed its second straight undefeated run through the SeaTac League Tuesday night visiting previously unbeaten Tacoma Baptist.

Keyed by its two excellent post players, Megan Spence and Chloe Mosey, a formula which worked all season for the Warriors, King’s West downed the Crusaders 59-42.

The teams met earlier this season in a non-league contest with Tacoma Baptist edging the Warriors in Chico.

One major difference this time: Spence was not ill and was able to contribute in a big way for King’s West.

The sophomore poured in a game-high 24 points and added 10 rebounds. Her partner in the low post, Mosey, tossed in 17 points, gathered 16 boards and was responsible for four blocks and four assists.

“No one expected us to get anywhere near the top. Everyone thought it was a rebuilding year and we proved ... we’re #1,” Spence said following the game.

Mosey echoed her sentiments.

“I don’t think anyone expected us to play. We were able to sneak to the top kind of undetected,” she said. “Everybody’s young but I think we showed them even though we’re young, we have big hearts.”

Warrior co-coach David Kerkhoff felt there were a few teams that did just the opposite but King’s West still prevailed.

“They went after us pretty hard,” Kerkhoff said. “Some schools were really looking forward to playing us. To knocking us off.”

Co-coach Bryan Hanley said it just wasn’t the down year opponents expected from the team and they weren’t able to capitalize on such ambitions.

“It’s a repeat of last year,” Hanley said. “No one expected us to be successful, just a middle-of-the-pack team.”

The matchup was shaping up to be quite a fight in the first quarter. The teams went tit-for-tat throughout and the Warriors struggled with turning the ball over by way of sloppy passes into the low post. Lone Crusader senior Tara Leaman capped off the competitive eight-minute session with a final-second jumper that put Tacoma Baptist up 13-12.

The second quarter told a much different tale, however, as the Warriors began to successfully feed the ball inside and frustrate a smaller Tacoma Baptist team. KW went on an 18-7 run to open up their first double-digit lead at 30-20 and led 32-22 at the half.

The Crusaders attempted a full court press for most of the game, but were unable to generate much of anything from it.

“Our ballhandlers are good. People underestimate our guards,” Kerkhoff said. “You continue to press us, we’re going to score. That can play right into what we want to do. We hope teams will press us.”

Point guard Lakiesha Nilles stayed cool throughout, taking care of the ball and helping King’s West narrowly avoid a ten-second backcourt violation on a number of occasions. The Warriors’ starting shooting guard, Megan Kreifels, made a perfect compliment to the posts, scoring eight points of her own.

Things got no better for the home team in the third quarter as the Warriors stretched their lead to 15 heading into the final frame.

In the third, Spence did pick up her third foul and Liz Johnson came off the bench, causing the strangest moment of the game to take place.

Because of a lost jersey, Johnson had switched to #54, which had been changed on the Warriors’ roster information but not in the home books, which officials told Hanley and Kerkhoff were their responsibility to check. As a result, a technical foul was assessed on the Warrior bench.

“I thought I’d seen everything,” Kerkhoff said. “That was a new one to me.”

“We’re checking them from now on,” Hanley said. “It’ll never happen again.”

Fortunately, the Crusaders missed the free throws and promptly turned the ball over, and the call made no impact on the outcome.

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