The Bear Creek girls’ basketball team had a rough time at the 2B state tournament last weekend, losing twice to get eliminated before Saturday’s trophy round.
The Grizzlies, making their first state appearance since 2007, opened up the tournament at Spokane Arena on Friday against powerhouse Reardan, ranked No. 1 in the state, and were held to their lowest point total of the season in a 49-24 rout.
In the consolation semifinals against Riverside Christian, a 45-35 loss, poor free-throw shooting did the Grizzlies in. While the Crusaders shot 70 percent from the line in the middle two quarters, the Grizzlies were just 3 of 16 (18 percent) from the charity stripe, and 8 of 28 in the game.
“You have to have an amazing game elsewhere to work past that,” said head coach Greg Cheever on his team’s free throw woes, noting that they got to within three in the fourth quarter. “We were in a fouling situation, and they made their free throws and eventually won by 10. It was a much closer game than the score indicates.”
Seniors Kendall Engelstone and Madelyn Magee led the Grizzlies with nine points each in their final high school game, with Engelstone crashing the boards for 10 rebounds.
The Grizzlies finished with a season record of 18-7, which included an 11-1 mark in Sea-Tac 2B league play.
LOVE FOR THE GAME
The Bear Creek School knows all about playing state basketball in Spokane, with the boys’ team making it three times in the last four years, and the girls’ team just last weekend.
Although the season ended with a pair of hard-fought losses for this year’s lady Grizzlies, much like the 2007 team, Cheever relished the experience of taking the team to the atmosphere of the state tournament.
“For this group, it was an amazing, fun experience,” he reminisced. “Spokane does such a great job with ‘B’ basketball, and hosting the teams. They know how to treat people right, and they love the game.”
The second-year coach also was appreciative of the Grizzlies’ tremendous fan base that traveled across the state to support the team, calling it a “great community event.”
In the end, even with the season ending on a sad note with the upcoming graduation of the team’s four senior quad-captains – Morgan Rial, Nikki Peterson, Madelyn Magee and Kendall Engelstone – Cheever had no qualms, and no regrets.
“We wanted to win our games, but overall, the Lady Grizzlies played very hard, played well, and represented themselves and the community,” he commended. “We just came up a little bit short, and are looking forward to the opportunity to get there again next year.
“We’re aiming to have it not be another five years.”
The Lady Grizzlies graduated a class of four senior quad-captains this year that all played a big role in the team’s success. Coach Greg Cheever talked about each of them and the mark they left on the program:
Morgan Rial: “Just a phenomenal athlete, won a state title with the soccer team, and great on the basketball team. Admittedly, basketball is not her first sport, but you wouldn’t know it by the way she plays. Great athletic mind and always a smile on her face.
Nikki Peterson: “Playing volleyball in college is her dream, so she’s working on that, but she’s extraordinarily smart on the basketball court on what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. She’s a coach’s dream.”
Madelyn Magee: “A superior athlete… her and Nikki were our defensive stoppers this year. She would be marking the other team’s best player all year long, and quite frankly that player had no chance.”
Kendall Engelstone: “She was a phenomenal force in the paint for us with her high energy and excitement for the game – offensively and defensively. She’s grown tremendously as a player and is leaving the program in a much better place than it was.