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Lasconia Leads Scots over Shorewood in First Round of District Playoffs

Brianne Lasconia scored a game-high 25 points, including 21 in the second half to lead her team to a crucial first round playoff win over the rival Thunderbirds from Shorewood

Things were rapidly unraveling for the girls basketball team.

The Scots watched their five point halftime lead evaporate in a little over a minute as the rival T-Birds fired in four straight outside shots to take a 31-26 lead.

But again, it was coming to the rescue for Shorecrest.

The junior combo guard scored 10 straight points over four minutes in the third period to give the Scots back a lead they would never relinquish, hanging on for a 54-51 victory.

Lasconia scored 21 of her game-high 25 points in the decisive second half as she continuously flummoxed Shorewood defenders with slicing drives to the hoop and two timely 3-pointers.

Shorecrest coach had unabashed praise for Lasconia after the game.

"We just saw absolute greatness tonight from Bri in the second half," said Monson postgame.

"She has a desire to win like you just cannot believe, so many of our girls do, but she [Lasconia] just completely took over the game and you could see the fire and passion in her eyes."

The Scots ran out to a quick 17-10 lead at the end of the first quarter and took a 24-19 advantage into the half behind 10 points from junior guard Janie Uppinghouse.

Using primarily zone defense in the first half, Shorecrest was quickly forced to adjust their defensive approach after the T-Birds opened the second 16 minutes by knocking down four consecutive triples in a minute and a half, forcing Monson to call for a timeout.

Both Monson and coach Nina Lowe believed that defensive adjustment was a key to the game.

"When they switched to man-to-man, it kind of took us a couple minutes to get into the flow of our offense," said Lowe.

"We hadn't seen it all game and we got a little careless with the ball."

Monson credited the Thunderbirds for their ability to force the change and was pleased his team was able to respond to the run from their cross-town rivals.

"Shorewood did a fantastic job, we switched up to man defense and we were able to mark them up pretty good after that," said Monson.

As the Scots again found their footing on defense against the suddenly hot-shooting T-Birds, they were still in need of a spark on the other end of the floor.

Cue Lasconia.

After Monson's timeout, Lasconia went on a personal 10-0 run over the Thunderbirds, maneuvering through the Shorewood defense seemingly at will.

"I try to take over and get the flow of the offense back," said the Shorecrest junior of her approach when her team hits an offensive dry spell.

She first found her way inside for a layup to quell the Thunderbird uprising and bring her team back to within three, 31-28.

Over the next four Shorecrest possessions, Lasconia scored eight more points on three buckets in the teeth of the Shorewood defense and two free throws to give her team back the lead at 36-31.

"I'm comfortable putting the ball in Bri's hands when we need to stop the other team from making a run," said Monson postgame.

But even with Lasconia's heroics, the Scots still struggled to put away a feisty and determined Shorewood group.

Masha Shtikel's bucket in the final minute of the third brought the T-Birds back to within three, 38-35 at the end of the quarter.

After a bucket from Erin Ellersick, who finished the game with 12 points, Shorewood was again within one possession, 45-43 with just under five minutes to play in the game.

But consecutive hoops from India Matheson and Lasconia had the Scots on top again by seven with 2:00 remaining.

Shorewood would make one final, valiant run at the regular season league champion Scots, trailing still by two after Kendra Holley-Lair put back a missed shot.

But one more time it was Lasconia, who made three of her four free throw attempts in the final 42 seconds to keep her team in front and stave off the desperation comeback attempt from the Thunderbirds.

"We couldn't lose, we weren't going to lose, we were going to do whatever it took to win and we did it," said Lasconia.

With the win, the Scots remain in the winner's bracket of the Northwest District 1 Tournament and will face the Lady Mavs from Meadowdale on Friday, February 11 at Shorecrest High School with a tip time of 7:30pm.

For the Thunderbirds, it's the dreaded first round trip to the loser's bracket, where a team must win four consecutive games to survive and advance.

Lowe will take her team to north to Sedro-Woolley for a Friday game that will tip at 7:30p.m.

Despite the loss, the Shorewood coach remained optimistic about the potential for her team in their remaining playoff contests.

"We know that if we bring this intensity, focus, energy and want and I think we will fare well," said Lowe.

Monson said that he did not address his team on the possibility of being forced to fight their way out of the loser's bracket with four consecutive wins, but acknowledged that his players certainly knew what was at stake against the T-Birds.

"I think they know it, we never talk about the negative possibilities, but they know," said Monson.

Sophomore Lauren Thompson had 10 points for Shorewood, Kendra Holley-Lair added eight and Masha Shtikel had seven.

Junior post India Matheson was one of three Scots in double-figures and finished with 12 in the win.

Lisa Lasconia February 11, 2011 at 01:18 AM
Thanks for the nice article about my Daughter!! Yes We will advance to State again this year Lisa Lasconia
Tony Dondero (Editor) February 11, 2011 at 01:24 AM
Thanks Lisa, Look for coverage of Friday night's game as well. Tony Dondero, editor

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