Jeff Wilson is headed back to the Tacoma Dome, and he’s taking the Lake Washington girls basketball squad with him this time.
The Kang head coach played twice at the state tournament with his Edmonds Woodway teams and then returned to the Dome as an assistant coach at his alma mater. It’s Lake Washington’s turn this time and Wilson is thrilled to be back.
Lake Washington (19-6) will take on Hudson’s Bay (20-7) at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday in a loser-out contest at the 3A Hardwood Classic. At the state regionals on Saturday, Arlington beat the Kangs, 56-32, at Shorewood High. Rosa Smith led LW with 13 points.
LW will be the sixth seed at state versus No. 14 Hudson’s Bay; Arlington is seeded third and plays its first state game on Thursday.
“We won the fourth quarter, so we ended on a good note, got some shots to fall, which is great,” Wilson said of the 19-13 final frame for LW against Arlington. “At the end of the day, we took great shots. Sophia (Liesse) and Rosa and some of our other girls, they got good open looks, they just didn’t fall — and that’s basketball sometimes. If they make a shot or two, then that changes the whole outcome of the game.”
Liesse and Smith both converted shots in the fourth against Arlington, which sports a 22-2 record.
Elise Hani, 3A KingCo’s defensive player of the year, said the girls have to possess a short-term memory after the Arlington loss.
“We just have to learn from this game and learn from our mistakes, our turnovers and stuff like that,” she said. “Just take that and fuel our energy moving forward to the Dome so that we can just kind of have this intensity about us: ‘Yeah, we’re sixth, but we’re coming back strong as ever.”
LW has won nine of its last 11 games, including the 3A KingCo championship tournament, and Hani said that players need to rebound from tough situations — on the court and in life.
When mistakes are made, “I’m gonna learn from it, I’m not gonna let it tear me down as a player. I’m just gonna let it teach me how I can improve the next time, ‘cause there’s always another possession, there’s always another game,” she added.
Last season, playing at the Dome for the first time with this group was within their grasp, but the Kangs barely missed out on the trip to the big show. There’s still more left to come this season.
“To be able to have this opportunity this year is huge. Just going into that, I think that’s gonna turn on our defense and our offense,” Hani said. “The Dome has always kind of been this pillar that we’ve tried to reach and now that we’re there, we just have to give that one final push.”