Bellevue Wolverines senior girls basketball player Annika Prins wasn’t fazed by the pressure as she meandered toward the free-throw line with the opportunity to seal a monumental victory against the Redmond Mustangs.
With the Wolverines clinging to a 44-42 lead with just 4.7 seconds remaining on the clock, Prins had a one-and-one opportunity at the charity stripe. Prins hit the first free throw and sunk the second free throw, giving the Wolverines a four-point lead.
Redmond didn’t score in the final 4.7 seconds as the Wolverines held on for a 46-42 win in the KingCo 3A tournament championship game on Feb. 7 at Newport High School in Factoria. In the final 11.2 seconds of regulation, Redmond went 1-for-4 at the free throw line which proved costly. Redmond recorded just two field goals in the final 4:20 of the game. Bellevue improved their overall record to 19-3 while Redmond dropped to 20-2 overall.
Redmond head coach Ashley Graham remained positive following the setback in the KingCo title matchup.
“They were pretty down about the loss today and understandably so. I just told them to keep their heads up,” Graham said of her post-game speech with her team. “There is a lot more season to go. It is our first chance for Redmond at districts in a long time. I don’t think we’ve been there in maybe 15 years. I think we face the Metro No. 8 (seed). We’re going to try to bring our best game.”
The Mustangs will compete in a loser-out, Class 3A Sea-King district II playoff game at 7 p.m. on Feb. 10.
Bellevue head coach Noah Wulbert wasn’t surprised Prins knocked down the crucial free throws to put the game away.
“That is senior leadership right there. She is our captain and she is the heart of our team. She leads our team vocally and by example,” Wulbert said of Prins.
The Wolverines, who went 1-1 against Redmond in their two contests during the regular season, reviewed game films meticulously in preparation for the third matchup of the 2017-18 season against the Mustangs.
The preparation paid immense dividends.
“We talked all week about boxing out. They are really big and strong,” Wulbert said of Redmond’s talented squad. “The last game we gave up a lot of rebounds off of free throws. We were able to get in the right positions, keep our composure and hold them off.”