Mavericks down Royals to secure district berth | Girls basketball
Last updated 2/14/2019 at Noon
Meadowdale isn’t just satisfied with advancing to the 3A District 1 girls basketball tournament.
The Mavericks accomplished that goal by defeating district rival Lynnwood 77-54 in a district play-in game Thursday, Feb. 7, at Meadowdale High School.
Last year Meadowdale went two and out in what was its first district appearance in seven years.
“This year the goal is not just to get to the tournament but to go further,” said first-year coach Arie Mahler, who was a junior varsity/assistant coach last season. “I think the excitement was tempered a little bit. We have some unfinished business.”
Meadowdale (7-6 in the league, 13-7 overall) is scheduled to take on No. 1 seed Arlington (12-1, 15-4) at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 14. The Mavericks lost 52-36 to the Eagles in mid-December. Meadowdale went into the fourth quarter trailing only 33-29 but was outscored 18-9.
“We had some key turnovers at the wrong time,” Mahler said. “That led to some easy buckets. It’s something we couldn’t overcome.”
Since then the Mavericks have become much more diverse on offense and a better defensive team, Mahler added.
That scoring diversity was on full display in Thursday’s contest against the Royals. Five Meadowdale players scored in double figures. Junior Lilly Williams led the onslaught with a game-high 22 points. Junior Alicia Morrison finished with 12 points and junior Soriah Swinton contributed 11 points. Sophomores Kaisha Stark and Fatoumata Jaiteh each had 10 points.
“Our scoring is definitely spread out among more than two players,” Mahler said. “That is making us difficult to defend. We hit some outside shots. Getting to the free throw line was huge.”
Stark, in particular the last two games, has been aggressive to the basket.
“She’s made a living at the free throw line,” Mahler said. “She is proving to be difficult for them to defend.”
Meadowdale’s final regular season game against Archbishop Murphy was postponed a number of times and eventually cancelled. So Meadowdale’s five seniors were honored prior to Thursday’s contest.
“There was definitely the potential for a little bit of distraction,” Mahler said. “The girls came out extremely focused. They wanted to get the win and they knew it was a loser-out game. They came out prepared to play ball. It was a good start.”
Meadowdale jumped out to a 17-5 lead after the first quarter and took 32-25 lead into halftime. The Mavericks extended their advantage to 52-42 by the end of the third period and outscored the Royals 25-12 in the fourth quarter.
“The girls decided we’re going to tighten things up defensively,” Mahler said. “We made some adjustments at halftime.”
The winner of Thursday’s first-round game moves on to play the winner of Edmonds-Woodway and Marysville-Getchell, while the two losing teams face off in an elimination game. Both of those contests are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 15. Meadowdale has lost to both the Chargers and Warriors during the regular season.
Mahler said he is feeling good about the Mavericks’ postseason prospects, especially since most of the squad played at districts last year.
“Having been there the girls know what to expect,” he said. “I think this year’s team has a real determination and focus. It’s fun to watch and it’s fun to see the team embrace it.”
WARRIORS WAIT: After a layoff of 12 days, the Edmonds-Woodway girls basketball team is scheduled to take on Marysville-Getchell in a first-round 3A District 1 tournament game at 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 14, at Marysville-Getchell High School. The winner will face on the winner of Arlington/Meadowdale, while the losers square off in an elimination contest. Both games are set for Friday, Feb. 15.