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Jefferson girls qualify for state
The Jefferson girls basketball team clinched a state playoff berth with a 67-45 win over Kentridge Friday at Rogers.
Im really surprised because we made TJ history, but we were all subdued in the locker room, senior guard Jessiye Clark said. We expected this. Now its time to work even harder. This is something weve played all our lives for.
Its the first state berth for a basketball team from Jefferson. The state tournament begins next week at the Tacoma Dome.
Were battling history, were battling tradition its been tough over the years, said Jefferson coach Mike Grady, recalling a game he remembered watching in the 1980s, before he was coach, when Jefferson trailed 44-0 in the third quarter. What a historical day for Thomas Jefferson.
The Raiders play against Enumclaw at 6 p.m. tonight at the University of Puget Sound.
Tonights game is exactly three months to the day that Jefferson beat Enumclaw in the first game of the season. Enumclaw has gone on to compile a 22-1 record this season, its only blemish being a 58-56 season-opening loss to Jefferson.
There might be the revenge factor since were the only team to beat them, but we like our chances with Enumclaw, Grady said. Actually, theyre the shortest team well play these last three games. Its going to be a track meet. They know it and we know it. They play just like us.
The winner plays in the West Central District championship game at 8 p.m. Saturday at UPS. The loser plays at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Theyre the real deal, Grady said. They have more offensive weapons than us, but we feel were playing well right now. Were excited to play them.
Against Kentridge, the Raiders used the same method they used to beat 18 other teams this season: high-pressure defense that leads to a fast-paced, transition offense.
Its the only way the Raiders know how to play.
We set high expectations and try to live by them, said senior guard Michelle Morse. If we change them, we make them higher. We just go out there, play hard, and keep doing what were doing.
Morse scored 32 points and eight steals while Clark scored 10 points and had six steals.
Since the beginning of the season our mind was set on going to state, and it happened, said senior wing Shannon Morse, who finished with five points and five rebounds. We focus on winning one game at a time. We use quickness, aggressive defense, hustle plays and we run. All we do is run.
The game was close through the first quarter as Jefferson held a 14-13 lead. But the Raiders pulled away with a 9-2 run to start a second quarter on their way to outscoring Kentridge 22-6 for a 36-19 lead at halftime.
We realized this is our last chance, senior wing Mitzi Moore said. This is our senior year and our last opportunity. We have to take advantage of it. Our goal has always been to get to state. Now, we want to place and do well. We want to show other teams its not a fluke we got here.
Jefferson out-rebounded Kentridge 7-3 in the third quarter to help maintain a 20-point lead that carried into the fourth quarter.
Mitzi did an awesome job on their big girls and Shannon did a great job on the boards, too, Clark said. We want to win state and we wont be satisfied with anything else. If were all clicking, people gotta come and run with us.