Hazen Highlanders girls basketball team takes down Renton Redhawks

Hazen freshman Syesha Simanton drops 21 points in win over Renton

The Hazen Highlanders girls basketball team took down the Renton Redhawks for the first time since November 2018, with a score of 58-25 on Monday, Jan. 23.

“We have a really bright future… The sky is the limit for this team,”said first-year Head Coach Bruce Cooper after the game held at Renton High School.

Hazen has now won three out of the last four meetings against the Redhawks dating back to 2017. It is the second consecutive loss at home for Renton against the Highlanders.

“It’s huge for us. … I’m excited and I want to keep the rivalry going,” Cooper said.

The Highlanders have now won back to back games for the first time since Dec. 6. Freshman Syesha Simanton scored a game-high 21 points leading the Highlanders to their big win.

“I think her performance was great, she always brings the energy and she’s always been a leader,” Cooper said about the freshman captain.

The lead began in the first quarter with Hazen putting up 22 points in the quarter. Renton struggled to put up points in response to the Highlanders. The first quarter ended 10-22, a lead that would only increase for Hazen.

Syesha was helped by junior Dakota Nap who both propelled the Highlanders to a huge halftime lead. The two girls combined for 20 points, four steals and three rebounds in the first half. At the halftime buzzer, Hazen led by 20 points with the score 37-17.

Syesha was all good vibes after her performance on Monday night. “It’s a really good feeling, I am happy that it happened,’’ Syesha said. “Every once in a while I’m a little nervous, but most of the time I am calm, cool and collected.”

Coming out of the break, it was the most difficult offensive quarter for the Redhawks, during the entire eight-minute period the Redhawks only put up two points. However, Renton also made it tough on Hazen holding them to their lowest-scoring quarter of the game as well.

Syesha put Hazen back on track in the fourth quarter with some easy lay-ups, ending the half with six points and two steals. Sophomore Makenna Garrett also had a big role in the second half scoring six points in the half, she finished with eight points.

A 15-point fourth quarter iced the game away for Hazen, who cruised for the entirety of the game. Eight different Hazen players scored points for Coach Cooper, while nine players registered statistics for Hazen.

With the win Hazen sits in fourth place in the KingCo standings at the 3A level. Renton after the loss is still in second place in the division, and has a three-game lead over third place Foster.

Hazen has two games left in the regular season, and Cooper said they are ready and excited for the post season. “I don’t think a lot of people expected us to be here, but I am telling the girls to believe in themselves and keep working hard,” he said.

For Syesha, she said she is confident in her team’s future.

“Our future is very bright and in the years to come it’s going to be our years and we’re going to take our stand and show we are the best team out here,” she said.

Hazen’s final home game is Jan. 25 against the RPI ranked #1 team Lake Washington and their last regular season game is on the road at Bellevue Jan. 27. Renton will face top seeded Sammamish on the road Jan. 27, followed by their final home game Feb. 1 against Tyee.