SUMNER — Down nine points midway through the fourth quarter in their loser out district game against Fife, the Buccaneers could have easily folded it up and called it a season.
After all, it would have been tough to blame a team consisting entirely of underclassmen, most of which are sophomores and freshmen, for wilting under the bright lights of a high-intensity playoff game against a Trojans team that had really dominated physically in the low post in the second half.
But Kingston rallied one final time and walked away with a 61-58 victory. A group of girls that began the year as a raw, but talented bunch has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two and a half months is now one game away from making it to the regional round of the state tournament.
“I’m proud of them, I’m still a little amped up,” head coach Charles Deam said after the game as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” played in the background. “It looked like we were done a couple of times, but some of those girls stepped up and made some huge plays at the end, offensively and defensively.”
Suzanne Skinner and Leetsah Deam each hit a pair of free throws that began a 7-0 run that tied the game at 53. Deam followed those free throws with a game-tying 3-pointer from the left wing. She finished with a game-high 20 points.
Then an unlikely hero emerged. Freshman guard Brianna Jorgensen, pressed into duty after Ellee Brockman fouled out, took the floor and made an immediate impact. Jorgensen took a pass from Deam, hesitated, but then buried a wide open look to give Kingston a 56-55 lead with a minute to go.
“I was really nervous,” said Jorgensen, who has played sparingly on the varsity team this year. “Right after the dribble I took, I just shot it. I went for it.”
Three-point shooting is the Buccaneers’ bread and butter, and although they were a paltry 9 for 32 from beyond the arc on against Fife, when they needed a basket, they got it.
“We hit them when it mattered,” Deam said.
Free throw shooting was also key to Kingston’s victory. After shooting 12 for 22 in a close loss to Renton in the previous game, the Bucs were cool as cucumbers from the line against Fife.
Sierra Denning gave Kingston a two-point lead with a pair of late free throws. Kylee Walker then stole the inbound pass and dished off to Deam, who was fouled. The junior guard hit both free throws to ice the game. Kingston shot 10 for 11 in the fourth quarter from the charity stripe.
“We did not give up at all,” Leetsah Deam said.
Kingston will face a familiar foe, Sequim, at noon Saturday at Wilson High School. The winner heads to regionals, the loser’s season is over.
“I’m so happy for these girls to be playing another game,” Deam said.
Kingston 61, Fife 58
Fife 13 13 16 16 — 58
King 14 14 11 22 — 61
Fife (58) — Hernandez 18, Thomas 11, Wise 11, Hunter 10, Serenger 6, Breland 2.