Lakewood takes down Coupeville for 3-way tie for third place

Lakewood senior Natalie Raymond, left, guards Coupeville’s Kendra O’Keefe during the Cougars’ 46-37 victory. - Travis Sherer
Lakewood senior Natalie Raymond, left, guards Coupeville’s Kendra O’Keefe during the Cougars’ 46-37 victory.
— image credit: Travis Sherer

LAKEWOOD — Senior night is typically a memorable enough event.

But for the Lady Cougars these past two years, it has meant much more.

At this time in 2010 coach Chris Walster’s girls earned their first win of the season. A year later and they qualified for the playoffs.

“It’s a good feeling, but now we’re trying to avoid playing in that play-in game,” said Walster after Lakewood defeated Coupeville 46-37 Feb. 2.

The win put the Cougars (7-6 in conference) in a three-way tie for second place with Cedarcrest and Granite Falls.

But this win didn’t come easy, as the Cougars had to fight their way out of an early 22-14 deficit with an 8-0 run to tie the score at 22-22 by halftime.

“I’ve got to hand it to Coupeville,” said Walster. “Their game plan was obviously to come in here, outhustle us and get a few more wins before the season is over.”

For the most part, Lakewood was able to beat Coupeville’s full-court pressure, but the Red Wolves were getting an advantage on the boards early on. That wore off in the second half, however.

“I told the girls at halftime that this one isn’t going to be about x’s and o’s. It’s about desire and winning our last game at home.”

With that, Lakewood pulled away in the fourth quarter on a 16-8 run.

“We just slowed down and started making the smart pass instead of forcing things,” said Walster. “Sometimes we can get carried away.”

Kayley Diggs led the way for Lakewood, posting a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds while seniors Kayley Mizell and Jordan Wessell added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The Cougars have three seniors — all starters — on this year’s roster.

“They will certainly be missed,” said Walster of Mizell, Wessell and Natalie Raymond. “They each contribute to the team in different ways.”

Walster said that Mizell possesses the best basketball IQ on the team while Wessell is the most aggressive ball-handler and Raymond is a defensive stopper.

“We would put all 5-foot of her on the other team’s scorer and they couldn’t separate themselves from her,” said Walster of Raymond. “She just frustrated the heck out of the other team.”

The Cougars played their final game of the regular season Feb. 4 at Cedarcrest, which would also break the tie.

In the event of a win, the Cougars would begin District 1 tournament play Feb. 12 at the higher seed’s home court. Should the Cougars lose against Cedarcrest, they would have a home district play-in game against Mount Baker Feb. 10.

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