By Kiara Doyal, The Seattle Medium
The top girls basketball teams in the 3A Metro League faced off for the Metro League Championship title Friday night at Seattle Pacific University. The Garfield Lady Bulldogs (14-1 in Metro) and the Lakeside Lions (14-1 in Metro) met once again in a high-stakes matchup.
The energy in the gym was intense, with the stands filled to capacity. The Bulldogs, the three-time defending state champions, entered the court with determination and energy.
For Lakeside, facing Garfield for the Metro League championship title has become somewhat of a routine in recent years.
“This is a great atmosphere for Seattle girls basketball,” said Lakeside Head Girls Basketball Coach Mia Augustavo-Fisher prior to the game. “We are happy to be here, and will try to come out with confidence, doing everything we prepared leading up to this point.”
With Lakeside enjoying strong support from their packed student section and the Garfield Boys Basketball team rallying behind the Lady Bulldogs, the City of Seattle showed support for both of these talented teams.
The first quarter displayed a lot of action, with possessions changing hands quickly. It was a nail-biter of a game from the start, with the Bulldogs and the Lions trading leads. Both teams demonstrated strong defensive and offensive efforts, resulting in frequent whistles from the referees, who were not shy when it came to identifying travel violations, fouls, and out-of-bounds plays.
Lakeside freshman Sienna Olsen picked up two fouls in the first quarter, sending Garfield to the free-throw line both times. Garfield converted the free throws, which helped them tie the score at 8-8 with two minutes remaining. Lakeside’s trio of Mia Broom, Sophia David, and Olsen showcased their skills, giving Lakeside a slight 13-10 lead heading into the second quarter.
In the second quarter, Garfield senior Katie Fiso began to put on a show as she scored 11 points in the quarter, including a trio of three-point shots, as the Bulldogs were able to maintain a slight lead through most of the quarter.
However, Broom led a great defensive effort by the Lions, keeping them within two points of the Bulldogs for the majority of the quarter. Despite Broom’s efforts, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 28-24 by the end of the first half.
The halftime break was essential for the Bulldogs as they came out strong in the third quarter. Fiso and junior Sarah Lessig formed a dynamic duo, consistently scoring points on almost every possession, making it challenging for the Lions to cut into Garfield’s lead. The duo racked up 16 of the Bulldogs’ 23 third-quarter points, as Garfield built a commanding 20-point lead, 51-31. Lakeside sophomore Lili Brown responded to the Garfield run as she knocked down a three-point shot just before the end of the quarter, cutting the Garfield lead down to 52-34.
As the fourth quarter began, the signs of defeat were starting to show in the Lions, as the energy in the gym shifted over to the Bulldogs for the remainder of the game. The Bulldog bench was ignited as they inched closer and closer to yet another Metro League Championship.
Despite the saddened faces of her teammates, Broom remained determined to get her team back into the game. Scoring 8 points in roughly under 1 minute of play — including a jump shot, a three-pointer, and three points from the line — Broom was able to quickly cut Garfield’s lead down to 16 points.
The final three minutes of the championship game were just as exhilarating as the opening minutes. The fast-paced, back-and-forth play continued as Broom and David poured in 8 points collectively, to cut Garfield’s lead to just 9 points.
At a time where every play is make-or-break, a foul was called on Lakeside’s Willa Chinn, sending Garfield’s Jayda Lewis to the line with 13 seconds remaining. Lewis’ two shots allowed the Bulldogs to seal a 66-53 victory over the Lions and claim the 2024 Metro League Girls’ Basketball title.
After the game, the Metro League honored players for their athletic achievements throughout the season. First Team All-Mountain selection Willa Chinn and Mia Broom were celebrated, as their coach Mia Augustavo-Fisher was named the Metro League Coach of the Year for the third consecutive year.
The defending champion Garfield Bulldogs recognized Sarah Lessig as a First Team All-Mountain Division selection, and Katie Fiso as the Metro League’s Most Valuable Player.
Pictorial Highlights of the 2024 Metro League Girls Basketball Championship Game