Women's basketball ready for playoffs

By Donnie Moore - Staff Reporter

The Lady T-Birds slid into the playoffs by defeating Centralia, 66-59, while Tacoma was losing at Lower Columbia, 73-65.

Highline had only a glimmer of hope to get to the playoffs heading into the last game of the season. They secured their spot in the playoffs due to outstanding play by freshman T-Bird Sharon Ajayi.

Ajayi had one of the best games of her season, scoring 29 points and grabbing 22 rebounds, half of the 42 team rebounds. She was not alone, as sophomore Aileen Kaye added 14 points and four assists.    

In compiling a 7-7 league record, Highline pushed out Tacoma (6-8 in league) for the fourth and final playoff spot in the NWAC West Division.

Ajayi was also named Freshman of the Year for the Western Region and made the first team as well, while Kaye made the All-Defensive Team for the Western Region.  The playoffs start on March 8, hosted by Everett Community College. Highline, 11-16 on the year, will head into tournament play against No. 1 Walla Walla who currently stand 28-1 on the season and undefeated in league play in the East Division."Posts have to come up big.  Continue to shoot well. A little luck never hurts either," said Walla Walla Head Coach Bobbi Hazeltine about what it will take to win.

Walla Walla is a favorite for the entire tournament, but if Highline is able to pull off a win they would face the winner of Lane and Skagit Valley.

"Umpqua and Walla Walla are the favorites but I would not count us out if we can get the score up in the 80s," said Grays Harbor Head Coach Chad Allan.

"Walla Walla and Umpqua[are my favorites]," said Lane Head Coach Greg Sheley.

Lane is coming into the tournament 22-6 on the season and 14-2 in league play, holding the second spot in the South Division.

"We would have to play great and upset a couple teams to win it all," said Coach Sheley.

Skagit Valley sits in the third seed spot in the North Division with 13-14 on the season and 8-4 in league play.

 They are a few dark horses in the tournaments including Clackamas, No. 3 in the South Division with a 21-7 record, and Big Bend, No. 4 in the East Division, 20-9 on the season.  "Everett, because they are at their home gym and have a good draw to get to final four.  North Idaho also has a good draw," said Greg Sheley about possible dark horses of the tournament. 

The tournament will consist of the sweet 16 and elite eight happening today and tomorrow while the final four and the Championship game that will take place next weekend on March 17 and 18.    

Highline will play tonight at 8 p.m. in Gym 7 at Everett.

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