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SK represented in state tourney after all
South Kitsap High School might not have played under the lights at the Tacoma Dome, but that doesn’t mean the community lacked a presence there last week.
Kennedy Catholic senior Alli Madison, who attended Marcus Whitman Junior High along with SK standout Kelsey Callaghan, made her fourth appearance in the Class 3A state girls basketball tournament in as many seasons.
But the Lancers lost their opener, 46-40 against Prairie, which ended their state-title aspirations.
The game was tied 40-all until guard Lauren Goecke found Angela Gelhar with a bounce pass for a layup with 20 seconds left for the go-ahead points to advance the Falcons to the semifinals.
“We felt we had the potential to make it all the way,” Madison said. “We just came up a little short.”
Two years ago, it was Madison and her teammates hoisting Kennedy’s first state championship trophy in program history.
The Lancers defeated Shadle Park, 50-43, to complete an undefeated season.
“It was honestly the best experience I’ve ever had,” Madison said. “I wish I could’ve experienced it again, but not many people can say they’ve won a state championship.”
While that didn’t happen this year — Kennedy placed fourth — Madison has shown improvement in each season on varsity.
Her points-per-game average has increased from 6.2 in 2007-08 to 16.0 entering the state tournament.
The 5-foot-8 Madison, who frequently works out at the YMCA in West Seattle, has drawn interest from several colleges. She intends to take an official visit to The University of Alaska, Anchorage, shortly after the season.
Madison frequently credits her father, Mark, who played basketball at South Bend High School and later at Central Washington University, for getting her into the sport and developing her skills.
But it was her mother, Marianne, a Kennedy graduate, who was a significant reason why Madison ended up at the private school in Burien.
Madison said her Catholic faith played a role in the decision, in addition to the opportunity to compete immediately on varsity.
Freshmen are not eligible to play at South unless the local junior high does not offer a sport, such as boys and girls tennis.
It wasn’t always easy, though.
Madison, who moved to Port Orchard in fifth grade, took the Southworth Ferry to West Seattle as a freshman and then rode a bus to Burien.
She described the experience, which included getting up at 5 a.m. most days, as brutal.
The family moved to West Seattle in 2008.
But Madison said it has been worthwhile. Lancers coach John Barbee, who also filled the same role on Madison’s club team, Seattle Rotary, lauded his pupil’s work ethic.
He said one particular play last week, when Madison missed a 3-pointer but hustled to corral the rebound and score, was common.
“She’s been one of our leaders all year long,” Barbee said. “She’s one of the hardest-working girls we have.”
He said Alaska Anchorage — or any other college — will benefit from having Madison.
But Barbee said he would enjoy seeing her play for the Seawolves, who compete in the Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference against such local schools as Central Washington, Saint Martin’s, Seattle Pacific and Western Washington.
“They play around here a lot,” Barbee said. “It would be nice to see her more. We’re going to miss her.”