"To state" was the sign that Sarah Stauffer carried out of the locker room to boisterous clapping from the crowd.
Cedarcrest's varsity girls had just earned a historic appearance, beating visiting Sehome, 37-29, in front of a pumped home audience Tuesday, Feb. 12.
"We're going to state for the first time," said a "super overwhelmed" Kathryn Smith. "All the work is paying off. We knew we could do it."
Tuesday night, Cedarcrest pushed to a quick lead early on; It was 18-12 CHS at halftime. However, Sehome started putting pressure on the basket in the latter half of the second quarter, and into the third, evening things up to 25-23 by the end of the third.
In the fourth, Lacey Deming made a shot to make it 27, and Campbell had a couple of important lay-ups to increase that lead. Campbell rebounded and put it in at 2:07 to make it 35-29. A couple of free throws by Stauffer sealed the deal.
At this point in the season, everybody plays tough.
"It wasn't pretty, but we'll take it," said head coach Brad Knowles.
The team lost an eight point lead, but in the second half, the Lady Red Wolves played better, and smarter.
"Everybody contributed tonight," said Susan Kenney. "We kept our spirit up, never gave up. We kept fighting back."
Cedarcrest's three forwards, Lacey Deming, Courtney McKinney and Kathryn Smith had a great game, said Knowles.
Smith added key rebounds and shots, and McKinney was strong on the defense.
"We needed to score and we needed defense for this game to be solid," Smith said. "We had everyone step up and play the positions we needed them to."
Campbell said there were nervewracking moments, but the team didn't lose faith.
"It came down to heart," she said.
"This is our house. You don't beat us here," said Molly Hammontree, who shut down Sehome's Rachel Albert.
"My thing is not letting them get the ball," she said.
This year, the Red Wolves were undefeated at home.
"We've got a lot of firsts and achievements this year," said Knowles.
"It's the first time, we've ever won a District game," Hammontree said. "It's new territory for all of us."
"It feels amazing," said junior Kalee Fowler.
Cedarcrest fell to Burlington-Edison in the district title game on Saturday, 54-45, then beat rival Archbishop Murphy, 56-50, on Monday, Feb. 18.
Now, Cedarcrest plays Port Angeles at Lynden, 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, in the state 2A basketball regionals.
Photos by Joan Campbell
Above, Kathryn Smith defends against Sehome's Maddy Bryan.
Susan Kenney charges for the hoop, at right Sehome's Meagan McIntyre defends.
Sarah Stauffer goes up for a shot, Tuesday at home.