Sometimes, Brian Hill just has to pull the reins.
His Glacier Peak High School Grizzlies girls basketball players want to run. It is up to him to know when to unleash them,
And on Saturday, Hill picked the right time.
The third-ranked Grizzlies turned up the heat midway through the third quarter, and turned a close 4A Wesco tussle into a comfortable 66-52 victory over host Lake Stevens, the No. 4 team in the state.
Glacier Peak scored 15 unanswered points in a 4 1/2-minute span to grab a 51-39 lead.
Maya Erling led the Grizzles with her game-high 22 points, 15 coming in the second half. Raigan Reed led the Vikings with 17 points, with Baylor Thomas adding 14.
Here are three game observations:
GLACIER PEAK’S FAST HANDS, SHARP ANTICIPATION TURNED THIS GAME IN A HURRY
By now, everyone in and outside the 4A Wesco knows what the Grizzles want to do – create chaos.
For a half Saturday night, Lake Stevens just didn’t let that happen, taking a 32-30 lead.
And then the flurry came.
Kailyn Allison started the 15-0 run with a 3-pointer to tie it at 39-39. And from that point on, the Grizzles attacked on both ends. They were deflecting passes, blocking shots – and creating easy transition baskets.
Erling’s jumper with 41 seconds remaining in the quarter capped the scoring spurt, giving the Grizzlies a 51-39 lead.
“They had been wanting to press. The team was like, ‘Let’s go,’ and I said, ‘Not yet, not yet – the timing wasn’t right,'” Hill said.
“It is a read (on when to press) – and we read right today.”
MAYA ERLING THE BEST PLAYER FEW FOLKS OUTSIDE SNOHOMISH KNOW ABOUT
When asked how valuable an asset Erling, a 5-foot-8 junior, is on the floor, Hill came up with an interesting athlete comparison.
He said his do-everything forward was like the “Mark McLemore” of his team, comparing her to the former Seattle Mariners’ infielder.
“She is kind of the utility player,” Hill said.
Which seems like an appropriate comparison, given Erling’s first true love in sports.
“I started off as a softball player, but I always knew I liked basketball, and that this is what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be,” Erling said.
She was fantastic Saturday night, especially in the second half showing off a wide array of skills – making 3-pointers, converting fadeaway jumpers in the lane, and even scoring on a nifty reverse layin.
“It is a self-drive thing for me,” Erling said.
A LEOPARD CANNOT CHANGE ITS SPOTS – AND NEITHER WILL A VIKING
Lake Stevens coach Randy Edens knows his team is at its best when it runs, especially with guards Chloe Pattison, Thomas and Reed, a Boise State signee.
But during that pivotal third-quarter stretch, the Vikings made too many critical mistakes running side-by-side with Glacier Peak – and getting caught by the increase in pace. And it not only cost them the lead – but essentially the game.
“We got a little stagnant,” Edens said. “We’ve got to be a little more disciplined with the basketball in the halfcourt, and finish the easy stuff near the basket.
“We are so young … this is part of that growth. We know it will get better.”