Falcons tops Edmonds-Woodway in 3A girls basketball quarterfinals
TACOMA — They got this win for themselves. They got it for the program, too.
The Prairie girls basketball program has one of the greatest traditions in the Washington, with 22 consecutive appearances in the state tournament and six championships.
Still, something has been missing in recent years.
A win in the Tacoma Dome.
The Falcons found what they were longing for Thursday, rolling past Edmonds-Woodway 58-38 in the Class 3A quarterfinals.
Brooke Walling made five of Prairie’s 11 3-pointers and scored 21 points, and Kendyl Carson added 12 points, leading the attack. Allison Corral made three 3-pointers and also had four assists and two steals.
“It gets us closer to our ultimate goal,” Walling said. “To get this first game out of the way was special. We were really nervous coming in.”
Next is the semifinals against Kamiakin at 3:45 p.m. Friday.
This was Prairie’s first win in the dome since 2012 when the Falcons won their sixth WIAA state title in program history.
“Just getting this win shows us we are supposed to be here,” Corral said. “This is where we are meant to be.”
The Falcons acknowledged they were nervous. There were emotions before the game. They knew what was at stake.
“We finally got our win here,” Corral said. “Our dome nerves are settled with this win.”
Walling is the one credited with settling those nerves.
The Falcons kept firing from 3-point range but missing the target in the first couple of minutes. Then Walling caught fire, making three consecutive 3-pointers.
“It was just an amazing feeling,” Walling said. “You hear the crowd. I was just trying to spark something. It’s nice to get passes from my teammates and reward them by knocking those shots down.”
Long-distance shooters, it has been said through the years, have a tough time adjusting to playing basketball in a dome instead of high school gym. Something about depth perception.
Corral said Walling’s 3-pointers gave everyone confidence.
“You take a big, deep breath,” Corral said.
Yes, those shots will fall.
“It’s still a hoop, a court, and a ball,” Carson added.
Corral had a fantastic sequence in the first half with a perfect pass to Carson for a lay-up, and on the next possession, Corral buried a 3-pointer.
It was a two-point game at the half, but Corral, Carson, Mallory Williams, and Walling all made 3-pointers and just like that Prairie was up double digits.
Later, it was Corral and Williams with back-to-back 3-pointers to make it a 17-point lead. In all, Prairie made 7 of 13 from long range in the second half. Williams, by the way, finished with eight points and a team-high six rebounds.
The dreaded dome doldrums were officially gone for the Falcons.
Carson could only watch last year, sitting out a season of varsity as a transfer student-athlete.
“I’m just glad I was on the court today and we got to play our game,” she said. “We were the team we wanted to be at the dome.”
Prairie coach Hala Corral said she was just so happy for her players, to see the excitement on their faces. She said before the game that she did not know if her players knew the recent history of misfortune in Tacoma. She found out after the game.
“They knew. They knew,” the coach said.
The Falcons even pretended to take a monkey off their backs during the post-game celebration.
“It’s not our ultimate goal to win one game, but just to get the first one is a big deal,” Hala Corral said.
Of course, these Falcons want a title. They will have to get past Kamiakin for a chance to play for the championship.
“Our defense is what sparks our team,” Allison Corral said. “When we play good defense, we play our game.”
“I want to be able to control the game and do what we do best,” Carson added.
PRAIRIE 58, EDMONDS-WOODWAY 39
Prairie — Brooke Walling 21, Kendyl Carson 12, Allison Corral 9, Mallory Williams 8, Meri Dunford 4, Cassidy Gardner 2, Claire Heischmidt 2.
Ed-Wood 9 10 11 9—39
Prairie 13 8 20 17—58