The Auburn Mountainview Lions girls basketball team lost their first game of the 2023 WCD playoff tournament Feb. 10 to Bonney Lake by a score of 67-63.
“I’m proud of this team, we came out and did what we needed to do. We worked our butts off and we just didn’t get the result we wanted,” said senior Maliyah Elliott.
The Lions entered the tournament as the two seed and took on the sixth-ranked Panthers. The Panthers, however, were one of the better teams in the SPSL this season, finishing third in that league, and they had the League MVP, Jazmyn Shipp.
It was a challenge for the Lions that began from the start. By the end of the first, the Lions trailed 12-14, but that wouldn’t be the end of the first-half woes for the Lions.
With three minutes left in the half, Auburn Mountainview trailed 31-16. After a timeout, the Lions leaped right back in the game, and over those minutes, Auburn Mountainview went on a 14-4 run to close out the half only down five, 35-30.
The second half was very strong for the Lions as they continued to trade blows with Bonney Lake. The Auburn Mountainview backcourt of Maliyah Elliott and Neviah Johnson combined for 27 points in the second half.
The Lions took the lead entering the fourth quarter, 50-49. But Bonney Lake kept battling, even going on a run and taking a 10-point lead with 2:00 left in the contest.
Auburn Mountainview rallied late getting to a five point game with some monumental shots from Elliott and Johnson. With just under 10 seconds left after a steal and a bucket from Johnson, the Lions had to foul, and after making both free throws, the Panthers iced the game away.
“We’re locked in no pressure on us right now… We’re here to get there (Tacoma Dome) and prove everybody wrong,” Elliott said.
It was a game that felt like it could have gone either way, and Elliott and Johnson had to be spectacular and they were. Elliott finished with 19 points, 4 assists and three steals. Johnson also finished with 19 points, 5 assists and three steals and a rebound.
“I’ve never been so proud of these girls,” said Coach Caitlin Doherty.
The Lions play Silas High School on Feb. 14 and need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“We’re ready… it’s about the team who flushes it (losing) and can prepare for the next,” Coach Doherty said.