Sports

Midseason reports | Girls basketball

Renton’s Taylor Williams passes out of a group of Highline defenders. The Indians beat the Pirates 34-27 Jan. 11. - Adam McFadden/Renton Reporter
Renton’s Taylor Williams passes out of a group of Highline defenders. The Indians beat the Pirates 34-27 Jan. 11.
— image credit: Adam McFadden/Renton Reporter

With just a few weeks left in the regular season, playoff pictures are starting to come into focus. Here’s a look at the area girls basketball teams, how their seasons have gone so far, and how their playoffs chances stand.

Liberty

Liberty’s non-league slate may be weighing down the team’s record, but Patriot coach Randy Leifer is hoping it will pay off in the long run.

“It taught us to play against bigger, faster people,” Leifer said. “We learned from it... It just helps as far as learning to play under more pressure.”

The three, in-state, non-league teams the Patriots’ (5-8, 2-3 KingCo 3A/2A) lost to this season are a combined 29-7 right now. Two of them (Newport and Woodinville) are ranked among the state’s best 4A teams.

The Patriots also played two out-of-state teams at the Surf ‘N Slam Tournament in San Diego.

When Liberty finally did get back to league play Jan. 13, the Patriots suffered what could have been a confidence-busting loss to Juanita.

Liberty led by four points heading into the fourth quarter before allowing 26 points to the Rebels in the quarter and losing by 17.

“We played poorly enough to keep them in the game,” Leifer said. “They got momentum and we got back on our heels. It just all unraveled.”

Leifer said his team got tired and takes the blame for not substituting enough earlier in the game.

Liberty is currently in fourth place in the KingCo. All six 3A teams will go to the playoffs, with the league’s top two seeds locking in a trip to districts. The other four teams will play for the two remaining seeds.

“It’s most important for us to be playing our best basketball a month from now,” Leifer said. “Hopefully we can peak at the right time.”

Liberty played Interlake Wednesday night and faces Juanita Feb. 4.

Renton

Renton’s team is doing exactly what coach Tim White thought they would do before the season: Pressure teams into bad decisions.

The Indians are simply too fast in the backcourt for most the Seamount teams and overwhelm the competition with non-stop pressure.

Renton has won six straight and should be favored to win each game except Jan. 22 against Kennedy Catholic and Jan. 29 against Mount Rainier from here on out.

With a 6-2 league record, the Indians are third in the Seamount.

Renton played Tyee Wednesday night and will go up against Kennedy Catholic Friday.

Lindbergh

Lindbergh knew it would face a tough climb back to the top half of the Seamount this year.

But even with a new cast of core players and a new coach, the Eagles are making strides in the right direction.

Despite a 1-8 record, Lindbergh has been close. The team has lost four times by six points or less.

Against Tyee Jan. 11, the Eagles fell in overtime by one point. Against Foster Jan. 8, they were tied in the fourth quarter and lost by five.

Sophomore Emily Graver is averaging 15.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.3 steals and 3.0 assists per game.

The Eagles are in eighth place in the Seamount and three games out of fifth (the final playoff spot). The team needs to turn those close losses into wins in order to make a late charge, but it’s still possible.

Lindbergh played Highline Wednesday night and plays Renton Jan. 27.

Hazen

Coming off a state tournament trip, it hasn’t been the season Hazen expected, so far.

The Highlanders are working new players into the rotation around sophomore Airashay Rogers and junior Michelle Wnek.

If Hazen can get its new players up to speed in time for the playoffs, this could be a sleeper team heading into the postseason.

Rogers is averaging 17.3 points per game this season. She gives the Highlanders one of the league’s best scoring options.

Hazen is tied for fourth in the league and will need to beat out either Highline or Tyee the rest of the way. All three teams have a 4-5 league record.

Hazen played Mount Rainier Jan. 22.

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