TACOMA -- For three quarters Chiawana played nearly perfect defense, which made what happened in the fourth quarter all the more devastating.
The Riverhawks watched as Federal Way more than doubled its points in the final quarter en route to a 48-45 Class 4A state tournament victory Friday at the Tacoma Dome.
"We were afraid to lose," Chiawana coach Steve Davis said, "rather than playing to win."
Chiawana held Federal Way scoreless for the entire third quarter and led 29-20 heading into the fourth quarter when the wheels fell off.
Never miss a local story.
After five quick points by the Eagles, Chiawana's Shelby Ellsworth hit a jumper for a 31-25 lead with 6 minutes, 31 seconds remaining.
Federal Way then went on a 17-3 run to take a 42-34 lead with 2:32 left in the game.
"We got away from what we were doing," Chiawana's Hayley Hodgins said. "We let them drive to the hoop and it killed us."
The Riverhawks had been using strong weakside help to limit the taller Federal Way players inside, forcing the Eagles to settle for long jumpers. The plan worked initially, as the Eagles struggled to hit much of anything for a large chunk of the game.
"If you would've told me a week ago we would hold Federal Way scoreless for 10 minutes, I'd have called you crazy," Davis said. "If you would have told me that we gave up 28 points to Federal Way in a quarter, I might've believed you."
Disappointingly enough, that is what happened.
The loss ends the dream of a group of Chiawana players, who finished seventh at state last year and had state title aspirations this season. They will play for third place today, but that hardly seems to compare with what might have been.
"Disappointment is a lot of it," Hodgins said. "After working so hard for four years to get right where you want to be and it slipped away from us ..."
The Riverhawks got strong efforts defensively from Ellsworth -- who was tasked with guarding 6-foot-2 Talia Walton much of the game while Sadie Sparks and Mikaela Rivard were in foul trouble -- Rivard and Kendyl Reynolds.
"The effort we got was what we needed," Davis said. "But then we got caught up not playing the way we did the first three quarters."
Chiawana fell behind 13-4 early in the first quarter, but Ellsworth scored three points and Hodgins two to close the quarter within 13-9.
Chiawana continued to chip away taking the lead on a Hodgins 3-pointer and went into half on a Hodgins layup, which made it 21-20.
In the third quarter, Rivard had three points, Melanie Valdez two and Hodgins four as the Riverhawks looked to be staking claim to a state title berth.
But Federal Way's Brittany Barrington didn't let it happen.
The 5-foot-6, solidly built guard scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, including hitting a 3-pointer with 34 seconds left that put the game out of reach. Chiawana had just pulled within two points after a Rivard 3-pointer and an Ellsworth free throw.
The Eagles then worked the ball around and eventually Barrington drained a 3-pointer from the left corner with 34 seconds left.
"They were playing great defense," Federal Way coach Danny Graham said. "We were standing around a lot of the second and the entire third quarter, in the fourth we finally started using our motion offense."
Hodgins led the Riverhawks with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Valdez added nine points, Rivard had eight and Ellsworth had eight points and six rebounds.
"I think we got comfortable and then tried to protect the lead rather than attack," Davis said. "It hurts. I feel more for hurt for my seniors. They worked their tails off and we didn't finish it out."
CHIAWANA -- Sadie Sparks 0 0-0 0, Shelby Ellsworth 3 2-4 8, Melanie Valdez 1 6-6 9, Hayley Hodgins 3 11-14 18, Mikaela Rivard 3 1-2 8, Kendyl Reynolds 1 0-0 2, Danielle Loving 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 20-26 45.
FEDERAL WAY -- Darh Huertas-Vining 2 1-2 6, Talia Walton 4 3-6 12, Raven Benton 2 2-2 6, Brittany Barrington 4 8-9 17, Dyesha Belhumeur 0 3-4 3, Chantel Dixon 0 0-0 0, Tanji Ajeto 0 0-2 0, Jaleecia Roland 2 0-0 4. Totals 14 17-25 48.
Chiawana 9 12 8 16 -- 45
Federal Way 13 7 0 28 -- 48
3-point goals -- Chiawana 3 (Hodgins, Rivard, Valdez), Federal Way 3 (Walton, Barrington, Huertas-Vining). Total fouls -- Chiawana 22, Federal Way 20. Fouled out -- Chiawana, Sparks; Federal Way, Ajeto. Rebounds -- Chiawana 42 (Hodgins 10), Federal Way 30 (Walton 7). Turnovers -- Chiawana 15, Federal Way 15.