Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Medical Lake girls reach 1A round of eight

Geiger, Noble and rest of cast push Cards into Sun Dome game


S. Carter Action Images

Medical Lake's Jayda Noble gets a block on Zillah's Callie Delp in last Saturday's 72-51 Cardinal victory over the Leopards at Davis High School in Yakima. With the win in the regional round of play in the state 1A tournament, Medical Lake returns to Yakima for today's (March 1) game at 3:45 p.m. vs. the winner of LaCenter and Freeman in the Sun Dome.

Racing to a fast start and hardly ever lifting their foot off the accelerator, the No. 5 rated 1A Medical Lake Cardinals upset the No. 4 Zillah Leopards 72-51 in a state regional tournament game Feb. 24 at Davis High School in Yakima.

That effort earned Medical Lake a return trip to Yakima and its Sun Dome for the quarterfinals of the state 1A Hardwood Classic March 1. They face either LaCenter or fellow Northeast A League rival Freeman in a game that begins at 3:45 p.m.

"First off, our girls played that next level of basketball," head coach Kyle Lundberg said. "I knew they could play, I've just been waiting for it."

Medical Lake got 20 points from Makayla Geiger, 17 from Jayda Noble and 12 from Jaycee Oliver to improve to 22-0 on the season. Zillah, led by Central Washington University recruit Samantha Bowman's 18, lost for just the second time this season (22-2) and will try to earn its way into the title round versus Cle Elum-Roslyn.

The Cardinals shot to a quick 9-2 lead and had a 14-6 edge at the end of the first quarter. Oliver would push the lead to 20-9 and baskets by Noble and Geiger would give the Cardinals a 16-point margin at 34-18.

Bowman's basket as the half wound down made it 34-22. That started a run by the Leopards that would allow them to close within five points at 37-32. "That's something we talked about at halftime, good teams are not going to just fold," Lundberg said.

When Zillah would make a little run to try to get back in it, Medical Lake always answered. "Somebody would get a basket for us, get a steal," Lundberg said.

A timely time out helped things get back on track midway through the third quarter for Medical Lake.

"We talk about that all the time, basketball is a game of runs, they're going to get theirs, we're going to get ours," Lundberg said. "The question is how to handle that adversity when their shots are falling and ours aren't?"

One of the responses came from Geiger who seemed to take personal control when Zillah got close, scoring the next eight consecutive points for a 45-32 Cardinal lead.

"She did a really good job attacking the basket," Lundberg said of the senior co-captain. "Geiger came out and attacked and our defensive intensity came up and answered their run."

Noble had what might be best described as a quiet output of points with her biggest contribution defending Bowman. Despite giving up height, Noble, "Did fantastic (and) did everything we asked her to do," Lundberg said.

A Lexi Redell field goal as the third quarter ended kept the lead at 13. Medical Lake would go on a 13-4 run and led by 19 at 60-41 midway through the fourth, part of a 25-17 edge they enjoyed in the final quarter.

"It was somebody every possession, somebody different," Lundberg said.

One of their secret weapons is team speed. "It's hard to see on film sometimes," Lundberg explained. "When we're running, it's really hard for other teams to keep up."

More experience on the big stage was also a factor in the victory. But Medical Lake, Lundberg said, has two district championships and is more used to having the spotlight shine upon them.

"After the game, I told the girls in the locker room, I'm speechless, I don't know what to say, you girls took it to a whole other level," Lundberg said. "I knew you girls could play like that, I've been waiting for it all year."

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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