Cheney Free Press -

By PAUL DELANEY
Staff Reporter 

Medical Lake girls fade in loss to La Salle

 

December 28, 2017

Medical Lake's Jaxyn Farmen rolls towards the basket in the fourth quarter of a 47-45 Cardinal loss to La Salle in a regional playoff game. Farmen led her team, and the game's scorers, with 27 points.

The pressure hung heavy on freshman Jayda Noble as she stepped to the free throw line with 1 second remaining in her team's 1A regional game against LaSalle and Medical Lake trailing 47-45 Febraury 25 in the Cheney High School gym.

When the first foul shot clanked off the rim, then the tears welled in her eyes because it meant the Cinderella season for the Cardinals had the wheel fall off the carriage on the way to the state championship ball.

But it wasn't that miss, nor the subsequent hard shot off the backboard with the idea of quickly recovering the rebound and putting up a hope shot as the tenths of seconds wound off the clock that ended an 18-game winning streak for a team that finished 20-3.

"One shot, one player never loses a game," head coach Kyle Lundberg said.

The Cardinals' only points in the final four minutes of the game were a pair of Jaxyn Farmen free throws. "We missed a lot of easy little shots and layups that hurt us," Lundberg said.

On the other hand, the Lightning's Grace McGee scored 22 of her team's points, while sister Payton McGee's 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 50 seconds to play gave La Salle a four-point lead. it was a margin that might as well have been 10 considering how tough it was for the Cardinals to score.

"We tried to focus on their guards, they drive a lot, I think a lot of our attention was focused on that," Lundberg said. "Unfortunately we didn't do a good job of boxing out, they got some easy rebounds, put backs."

It was one of those games that could have gone either way and that showed as each team had their hot times with the hoop.

La Salle, from Union Gap, near Yakima, improved to 12-11 and the Lightning move on to face Bellevue Christian in the first round of state in Yakima. They used a 10-0 run in the first quarter to lead 12-7. However, Medical Lake responded with a 12-2 start to the second quarter, en route to a 20-14 edge and led 27-26 at halftime.

Natalie Newman launched a 3-point shot from the top of the arc as time expired in the third quarter for a nothing-but-net dagger for La Salle, and a 38-36 lead. They never lost that advantage, although Farmen did her personal best to change that.

A pair of early fourth-quarter Farmen field goals drew the Cardinals within a point on separate occasions. But Grace McGee countered each time with key free throws and a field goal that kept her team on top.

Medical Lake's final field goal came from Noble with 3:52 to play and trimmed it to 44-43 before Peyton McCrea's crucial 3-pointer. The Cardinals final points came from Farmen with a pair of free throws with 1:41 remaining that closed it to 47-45. That gave the junior a game-high 27 points and earned her accolades from Lundberg.

"She had a crazy game last night," Lundberg said. "Jaxyn just really got some good looks and put some shots down for us."

The loss and the trip to state for the first time in 27 years aside, the other painful part of the game and the end of the season is it's the final time seniors don the school colors on the basketball court.

"With the seniors on the team a last game is always emotional for players and coaches," Lundberg said. They include Hailey Hostetter, Michaela Peterson, Serenity Bremmer and Makayla Tamietti. "Unfortunately those four seniors are going to be greatly missed," he added.

On the flip side is next season where eight players, including Noble and Makayla Geiger - both All-Northeast A League first team selections return.

"The future looks bright for us," Lundberg said.

Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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