SPOKANE — How do you win a basketball game when you only shoot 25 percent from the floor?
DeSales had the answer here at the Spokane Arena Friday in the girls WIAA Class 2B state basketball tournament.
The Irish trailed White Swan 19-9 with 3:30 left in the first half, but DeSales refused to go away and emerged with a 34-33 win after a frenzied ending.
The win sent the Irish to Saturday’s trophy round with a chance to bring home fourth place.
“Wow, I don’t even know where to begin,” Irish coach Tim Duncan said. “We could’ve rolled over at that point (down 19-9). They (the Cougars) put a ton of pressure on you. They are big and physical.
“We just battled back. That fourth quarter was all heart.”
The Cougars had their way for the first 11 minutes as they pounded the ball inside to 5-foot-10 Cayla Jones and 6-1 Emily Botkin. Botkin scored 14 of the Cougars’ first 19 points to build the 19-9 first-half lead.
“It was fun and a challenge for me,” Irish post Allison Wujek, 6-0, said of her battles inside. “They were really good players. I just did my best. It was a fun battle.”
The Irish sent help for Wujek as Botkin only scored four more the rest of the way.
“As soon as it came to her (Botkin), we were all suppose to swarm and close in,” Wujek said. “My girls did a great job of helping me. It was intense, but we had to win as this was very important for us. We all played solid D and worked together. ”
Wujek hit a free throw with 3:10 left in the first half and ignited an 11-2 Irish run to end the half.
Molli Lesko drained a trey, Ashlyn Lyons hit a bucket, a free throw, and added an assist to Wujek’s toss. Teresa Acock capped the run and the half with a lay-in at the horn after picking off a Cougar in-bound pass and DeSales went to the break down 21-20.
Lyons hit two 3s in the third period and Lesko hit two free throws, her last with :18 left in the quarter to keep the Irish in touch as the Cougars took a 31-28 lead to the fourth.
Wujek backed in and hit a turn-around jumper with 5:45 to play for the first points of the fourth. White Swan saw its lead dwindle to 31-30.
Kaylei Ryan put the Cougars up 33-30, with what proved to be the Cougars only points of the quarter, at the 4:10 mark.
Lyons converted an Acock feed and the Irish trailed 33-32 with 3:10 to go.
It stayed that way until a DeSales timeout with :58 left.
“We wanted to set it up so Teresa (Acock) is coming off a double screen and Ashlyn (Lyons) is on the post side,” Duncan said. “We were looking (inside) to Allison (Wujek), and if she got doubled, she could go back out to Teresa or Ashlyn.”
Wujek dumped the ball out to Lyons, who missed from the corner but Emily Baumgart grabbed the offensive rebound.
Baumgart fired to Acock who missed a trey from the top of the circle but followed her own miss and put up a runner.
“We were trying to get a 3 at the end,” Wujek said. “We were going to look inside and I was going to dump it out. She missed the 3. I was ready to rebound and we got it.”
Acock’s runner came up short and wide left. Wujek was there to grab the ball and put it up off the glass and in. DeSales had a 34-33 lead.
“I was waiting for the rebound and trying to get position,” Wujek said. “I saw it coming to me, and I thought, ‘this is my moment.’ I took it.”
“I know Allison felt terrible about yesterday (a 35-31 loss to Morton-White Pass),” Duncan said of his junior post. “And to score the winning basket, she did a great job and I’m so happy for her.”
The Cougars still had time and Jones drove to the basket, but her lay-in rolled off the rim and Baumgart grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 9.7 seconds left.
“My God, I don’t even know how she came up with those,” Duncan said of Baumgart’s rebounding. “Emily is a very physical player and understands positioning.”
Baumgart missed the free throw, but the Cougars turned the ball over as they tried to get up one more shot and DeSales earned a ticket to the trophy round.
Ashlyn Lyons led the Irish with 11 points, Lesko chipped in 10, and Baumgart grabbed a team-high seven boards.
The Irish played for history Saturday, as the highest state finish for DeSales was fifth and with a win Saturday, they will finish fourth.
DESALES 34, WHITE SWAN 33
DESALES (34) — Baumgart 1-2 0-1 2, B. Lyons 0-4 0-0 0, Acock 1-5 0-0 2, Conley 0-2 0-0 0, Lesko 2-9 2-6 7, All. Lyons 0-2 0-0 0, Wujek 4-11 2-6 10, Leahy 1-1 0-0 2, Ash. Lyons 4-15 1-3 11, Zander 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-51 5-16 34.
WHITE SWAN (33) — Whitesell 1-6 2-2 4, Abrams 0-0 0-0 0, Fiander 0-4 1-2 1, Spencer 0-2 0-0 0, Ryan 1-9 0-0 2, Bill 2-5 0-0 4, Ramsey 0-6 0-0 0, Jones 2-11 0-1 4, Botkin 9-21 0-3 19. Totals 15-64 3-8 33.
DeSales 9 11 8 6 — 34
WS 14 7 10 2 — 33
3-point field — DeS 3-18 (Baumgart 0-1, B. Lyons 0-3, Acock 0-2, Lesko 1-4, Ash. Lyons 2-8), WS 0-11 (Fiander 0-2, Spencer 0-1, Ryan 0-3, Bill 0-1, Ramsey 0-3, Jones 0-1). Total fouls – DeS 10, WS 17. Fouled out – none. Technicals – none. Rebounds – DeS 38 (Baumgart 7), WS 49 (Botkin 14). Turnovers – DeS 20, WS 20. Assists – DeS 6 (Lesko 2, Ash. Lyons 2), WS 6 (Jones 4).