The fourth time was the charm.
The Quilcene High School girls basketball team overcame three nights of cancellations due to bad weather before it finally hosted Northwest Yeshiva of Mercer Island on Feb. 7.
And with their seasons on the line in the loser-out SeaTac League tournament game, the Rangers prevailed.
Sophomore post Marissa Kieffer scored 28 points and her sister, senior forward McKenzie Kieffer, blocked nine shots as Quilcene (8-14) qualified for the Class 1B tri-district tournament.
“I’m really glad to be going to district,” said Marissa Kieffer, who made 13 field goals and went 2-of-4 from the free-throw line. “We started off in kind of a rough patch, but we picked it back up a couple of games ago.”
Quilcene is scheduled to play at 4 p.m. Feb. 13 at Grace Academy of Marysville in a loser-out game. The Eagles (13-4) won all 10 of their Northwest League games. The winner will advance to the tri-district’s double-elimination rounds, and the top six teams from this weekend will go to the state-regional round, with play slated to begin Feb. 22 at Spokane Arena.
Once the Rangers lost 55-31 on Feb. 2 to the Muckelshoot Tribal School, they needed a win or their season would be over. The Kieffers didn’t let that happen.
Marissa was steady in the paint all night with 12 in the first half and 16 after the break. And McKenzie stood in the middle of the Rangers’ 2-3 zone, protecting the basket and rejecting anything the Lions (4-17) dared to toss up from the middle of the key.
“I can’t sing her praises enough on her post moves and being open,” Quilcene coach Cailey Snyder said of Marissa Kieffer. “She’s someone who we’re confident in, that when she gets the ball, she’s going to go up with it.”
Freshman Natalie Coffey contributed 10 points, while McKenzie Kieffer had five and junior Maddie Coffey four. Foul trouble limited the minutes for most of Quilcene’s starters, but Snyder highlighted the performances of other players like sophomore Aleina Mitchell and junior Harmony Scholz. Eighth-grader Savannah McBride also saw significant minutes and handled the ball against the Northwest Yeshiva press.
“The bench played really well,” Snyder said. “They’re always very supportive and ready to chip in at a moment’s notice.”
Reaching the tri-district tournament was a major goal for the Rangers, who jumped to an 8-0 lead in the opening minutes. Maddie Coffey nailed a long jumper and McKenzie Kieffer followed less than a minute later. A Marissa Kieffer putback followed by a 12-footer from the right side sparked the run.
The Lions responded and took advantage of Quilcene turnovers against the press to close the gap to 12-10 after the first eight minutes.
Northwest Yeshiva senior Zohar Hemmet made two free throws just a minute into the second quarter to tie the game 12-12. Quilcene broke the press, and Natalie Coffey scored a transition layup with 6:04 to play in the half to give the Rangers a lead they never relinquished. Quilcene led 23-16 at halftime.
“When we’re doing really good, it’s because we’re passing the ball,” Marissa Kieffer said. “As a team, one thing we struggle with is forcing passes in fast breaks. At the end of the game, we got it more under control.”
Hemmet scored 12 points and senior Bronya Sandorffy added 11 for Northwest Yeshiva, which shot 17-for-37 from the line. Hemmet had the largest workload and made 9 of 17 from the stripe.
The Lions closed the gap to 25-20 when sophomore Shoshana Behar made two free throws with 4:53 left in the third, but Marissa Keiffer answered with a basket from the inside and later converted a three-point play for a 32-23 advantage.
The Rangers led by as many as 12 in the fourth when Natalie Coffey made it 45-33 with a layup in transition with 2:32 remaining.
“We’re pretty excited to be going to district,” Snyder said. “I’m very proud of the girls. They worked hard all season to get this.”
West Central District
The Port Townsend High School girls basketball team had its loser-out postseason game canceled last week due to snow.
The Redhawks are scheduled to host Seattle Christian at 6 p.m. Feb. 13 in a 1A West Central District contest. The winner would advance to play at 5 p.m. Feb. 14 at Cascade Christian of Puyallup in another loser-out game. Two straight wins would earn Port Townsend a spot in the double-elimination portion, with the first game against top seed Bellevue Christian at 6:15 p.m. Feb. 15 at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma.
In the same tournament, the Olympic League champion Chimacum Cowboys will open double-elimination play at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 15 in the semifinals against Annie Wright at Bellarmine Prep. Chimacum is scheduled to play again Feb. 16, either at noon if the Cowboys lose the first game, or in the district championship game at 3:30 p.m if they win. If the Cowboys drop the district title game, they’ll have one more chance to move on in a loser-out game on Feb. 17.
The top two teams from district will qualify for the state regional round, which is scheduled to begin Feb. 22 at the Yakima SunDome.
The Port Townsend boys are scheduled to play a loser-out West Central District game at 5 p.m. Feb. 13 at Cascade Christian in Puyallup. The winner will advance to the double-elimination portion and face the Nisqually League champion Vashon Island Pirates at 7:45 p.m. Feb. 14 at Bellarmine Prep.
The district championship game will be held at 8 p.m. Feb. 15, and a second team from the district will earn a spot in the state regional round in a loser-out game set for 3:45 p.m. Feb. 16.
The state regional round will begin Feb. 22 at the Yakima SunDome.