BELLEVUE — This was already the most successful five-on-five season for the Calamus-Wheatland girls basketball team.
And Friday, the Warriors nearly gave their record campaign its signature victory.
Facing off with Marquette Catholic in a 1A regional semifinal, the Warriors gave the second-ranked Mohawks all they could handle, forcing 20 turnovers and pulling within three points late before the hosts clinched the game at the free throw line for a 46-37 victory.
Marquette’s strong inside game made its impact early. The Mohawks scored 22 of their 26 first-half points inside of the paint, while building a 17-7 lead in the second quarter.
The Warriors’ extended zone defense, however, created its own set of problems for the hosts. Marquette committed 10 first-half turnovers and Cal-Wheat turned them into nine big points.
That helped the visitors eat into Marquette’s lead. Immediately after the Mohawks went up 17-7, the Warriors responded by scoring the next seven points, picking up hoops from Hannah Tack, Alison Boeckmann and Emily Knudtson to go with an earlier Knudtson free throw.
That made it a three-point game and the Warriors made sure to keep pace the rest of the way.
That included cutting a six-point halftime deficit down to one in the third quarter behind a run of five straight points — a pair of Boeckmann hoops with an Addison Luepker free throw sandwiched between.
Marquette countered by pushing its lead back to five, but Boeckmann ended the third quarter with a hoop and Luepker opened the fourth with a jumper to make it a one-point game again.
The Mohawks stretched their lead again at 36-31, but Cal-Wheat kept closing the gap and were back within three with just over a minute left.
The Warriors’ had a fast-break to get even closer, but the resulting shot was off the mark and a foul after Marquette’s defensive rebound led to free throws the other way.
The Mohawks made both attempts to make it a five-point game and then added two more free throws and a late bucket to create the final margin.
Boeckmann led a balanced scoring effort with 11 points, while Knudtson was right behind her with 10. Seniors Luepker and Tack, meanwhile, had eight and six points, respectively, in their final contests.
Both Luepker and Tack grabbed five rebounds with the former coming up with a team-high five steals and the latter pacing Cal-Wheat with three assists.
Boeckmann pulled down six boards, had three steals and dished out two assists for the Warriors, who set program records for victories and winning percentage this winter.