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Katie Fiso, Garfield deny Mead WIAA 3A girls basketball championship, Bulldogs capture fourth in a row

Fiso's two clutch 3-pointers late in the game propel Garfield to its fourth consecutive WIAA 3A title
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TACOMA, Wash. — You're going to have to work for it.

A true statement for both Mead — trying to capture its first state championship since 2013 – and Garfield who was gunning for its fourth consecutive title.

In the end, it was Garfield, led by star guard Katie Fiso, who got the job done, joining elite company as just the third girls program in state history to win four championships in a row with the 62-59 win.

"It feels different than last year, but it also feels the same," Garfield coach Roy Smiley said. "I'm happy for these girls. I'm just a passenger on their journey, I'm not driving the bus, I'm just riding with them."

The game had all anyone could want from a championship game: a tight battle orchestrated by each team's standout player in Fiso and Mead's Teryn Gardner.

And while Gardner's personal trophy case will remain empty, Fiso's will have one last gold ball added to it.

Fiso scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Bulldogs with 17 of them coming in the first half.

Gardner poured in a team-high 22 points, but was held scoreless in the third quarter.

Garfield led 49-44 through three quarters, but the Panthers were able to string together a run to tie the game at 56-56 with four minutes left in the game.

Fiso also picked up her fourth foul at that time, but Smiley opted to leaver her in the game, saying there was no way she was coming out.

That choice paid off shortly after when Fiso drained consecutive 3-pointers that gave the Bulldogs a 62-56 lead with less than a minute remaining.

Mead's Gracie Wenkheimer hit a 3-pointer in between Fiso's pair to bring the game back to three points before Fiso's clutch gene ultimately put Garfield back ahead.

Those two 3-pointers were Garfield's only made deep balls of the game.

"I work on those threes a lot, so it was really just another shot for me," Fiso said.

Mead had possession with one last chance to tie the game, but Gardner's attempt with Fiso guarding her fell short.

Smiley said they knew if they could slow Gardner down after a hot first half, the Bulldogs would have a chance in the end.

"The note that every time we step on the floor is to play hard defense and the girls stepped up late in the game," he said.

With this being her last game in Washington state before she heads off to the University of Oregon, Fiso said she wanted to leave her mark.

Mission accomplished.