Down to the wire showdown in the GSL girls basketball semifinals 

Pullman High and Shadle Park decided in the final seconds 



Pullman guard Suhailey Reyes drives toward the hoop during a basketball district playoff game against Shadle Park, Feb. 14, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

In the waning seconds of the game, a desperation half-court heave was thrown up, out of the hand it looked too strong. It was. The ball ended behind the backboard and the game was over, a close game until the end. 

Pullman High School girls basketball (8-12, 8-2 GSL Conference) hosted the semi-finals of the District 8 2A basketball tournament against Shadle Park (10-11, 6-4 GSL) in a win-or-go-home match. 

Starting quickly, the Highlanders of Shadle Park had a quick 5-point lead off of multiple Pullman turnovers, a recurring theme for both teams throughout the game. After going down early, the Greyhounds implemented a full-court press defense, a pestering attack that worked well all game. 

Within just the first quarter, they were closing in on double-digit steals as a team from intercepting passes out of that full-court press, leading to several quick transition buckets. 

The 5-0 lead for Shadle Park was short-lived, as Pullman went on a 10-0 run in the first quarter. But, after several missed free throws, the Highlanders knocked one down to cut the lead down to 10-6. 

Following the buzzer to signal the end of the first quarter, the score was 10-6 in favor of Pullman, but it was not what the Greyhounds wanted. Despite dominating the offensive glass and forcing several turnovers, they were generally unable to capitalize on the fastbreak. 

The second quarter started quickly once again for the Highlanders; freshman guard Makenzie Marie Fager hit a quick 3-point shot and subsequent layup to take the lead 11-10 in the first minute and a half of the quarter. 

Shortly after, another freshman guard for Shadle Park, this time Tameira Thompson, hit a 3-pointer herself to stretch the lead. 

The two freshmen, Marie Fager and Thompson, alongside senior guard Kyleigh Archer formed a three-headed monster that did most of the scoring for the Highlanders. 

Archer was the first of any player to reach double-digit points, getting to that mark early in the second quarter, but she was not the only one to reach that mark, as Thompson and Sehra Singh of the Greyhounds joined her later.

Pullman guard Sehra Singh jumps for a layup during a basketball district playoff game against Shadle Park, Feb. 14, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

Despite falling by near double-digits at points in the second quarter, Pullman was able to claw back and the score at halftime was just 22-18 in favor of Shadle High. However, Pullman was still dominating the offensive glass, a good sign going in the second half. 

In the second half, junior Ryli Bednar of the Greyhounds got multiple successful layups but took a shot to the face and had to head to the locker room with just under two minutes left in the third quarter. She quickly returned and got back on the court to cheer from the home crowd.  

Pullman guard Suhailey Reyes tries to lay up the ball during a basketball district playoff game against Shadle Park, Feb. 14, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

The third quarter was back-and-forth buckets from both teams and to beat the third-quarter buzzer, Highlanders junior Julia Licea made a layup to give the Highlanders a 33-26 lead heading into the final quarter. 

After a minute and a half of scoreless basketball to start the final 8:00, a Bednar layup cuts into the silence and makes the deficit just 5 for Pullman. Quickly after, Singh made a layup of her own to cut the lead down again, this time to 3. 

Then, with 3 minutes remaining, the score was 36-33, Pullman holding Shadle Park to just a single made basket throughout the past five minutes to keep themselves firmly within striking distance. 

With possession, a missed shot but a huge offensive board and a layup from Singh cut the lead down to 1 and brought her total point total on the night to 13. Singh was the best player on the court for the Greyhounds on this night as she and Bednar dominated the paint for most of the game.

Pullman guard Sehra Singh fights for a rebound during a basketball district playoff game against Shadle Park, Feb. 14, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

With 1:24 left in the game, a 1-point lead and possession, the Highlanders took a timeout. Out of the timeout, a favorable double dribble call went to Pullman but they were unable to make the shot. 

Yet again, a favorable out-of-bounds call goes the way of the home team, but yet again, the Greyhounds cannot capitalize and remain down by 1 with under a minute remaining. 

After getting fouled, sophomore Addison Jahn sinks both one-and-one free throws to give her team a 38-35 lead with just 15.2 seconds left in the game. 

Senior Suhailey Reyes got fouled on the ensuing Greyhound possession for a one-and-one of her own and after she makes the first, the team called a timeout to strategize the second attempt.

Coming out of the timeout, Reyes made the free throw and the Greyhounds foul down by one. After making the first attempt, the second free throw bounces out for the Highlanders. Pullman takes the ball past half-court and takes a timeout with just 7.5 seconds remaining. 

However, in a disastrous turn of events, the Highlanders stole the ball on the inbound, senior Alexis Bell is fouled and makes the first but misses the second. As time ticks down in the final seconds, Singh sends up a prayer from half-court, but it is unsuccessful and Shadle Park wins 39-37.

Shadle Park is now set to play in the GSL District Championship and Pullman’s girl’s basketball season ends on a sour note. The Highlanders play at 6 p.m. Thursday against Clarkston High School on Clarkston’s home court.