First half deficit tough climb for Seattle Lutheran
By Gerardo Bolong
AUBURN - Seattle Lutheran rallied furiously in the second half, but was unable to fully clear a mountain high deficit in a 59-48 girls SeaTac 2B League basketball loss at unbeaten and league leading Auburn Adventist on Tues., Jan. 27.
Trailing 40-15 early in the third quarter, the visiting Saints refused to fold and eventually drew within 45-36 on an Alondra Lopez basket with 1:08 left in the fourth quarter.
After several chances to get even closer were unsuccessful for Seattle Lutheran, Lucy Nizigyimana broke for a lay up with just more than 38 seconds showing.
Two free throws by Natalie Holm 31 seconds later were more than enough to render Shay Tjostolvson’s closing fade-away jump shot a final distraction.
"The girls wanted it because we still had a shot at the playoffs," said co-head coach Cynthia Lysen (with Jeff Crawford). "They played with more intensity in the second half."
The Auburn Adventist Falcons (3-0 league, 10-2 overall) boxed out strongly on rebounds and generated turnovers to score on rebound baskets and fast breaks for a 19-6 lead after one quarter.
By halftime, the home team had posted a 38-15 lead after briefly assuming a 25-point lead in the second quarter on a total break out.
Following a re-establishment of the 25-point margin at 40-15, the Falcons showed signs of fading in the face of vigorous defensive play by Seattle Lutheran (0-3, 3-12).
Sophomore pivot Lopez was aggressively in pursuit and later was joined by Tjostolvson and Melina Menashe in a 7-0 surge to end the third quarter trailing only 41-26.
It was Tsoltovston and Lopez keying a further Saints rally as the difference continued to evaporate to 43-31 just ahead of a final Saints surge.
This rally fell short, but Lysen has seen progress throughout the season.
"We started the season with five girls who had never played," she said. "The growth and maturity has been significant. They never quit fighting hard."
Nizigiyimana was a tiger on the court for 22 Auburn Adventist points. Bianca Prada added 13 and Holm posted nine.
For Seattle Lutheran, Lopez was a tower of strength for 20 points. Tjsoltovson closed with 10 points.