By David Pan/Lynnwood Today editor
After a sluggish first half that saw Lynnwood trailing Moses Lake 22-20, the Royals sat in their locker room and talked about how they wanted to finish their season.
Lynnwood coach Everett Edwards reminded the Royals that the next 16 minutes were going to be the last half of basketball they would play together as a team.
The players took Edwards’ message to heart, as the Royals ramped up the defensive pressure and eventually pulled away with a 48-38 victory in the Class 4A third/fifth place state tournament game Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
The third place finish was the highest ever for Lynnwood. The victory came after a tough semifinal loss to eventual state champion Gonzaga Prep on Friday.
“I’m pretty proud we actually made history for our school getting third place,” senior Jasmin Edwards said. “Our girls basketball team has never done that. Just winning that for our school, all our family and friends is great.”
Edwards, playing with a wrist injury, scored 12 of her game-high 18 points in the second half.
“I could tell the way the game started that she was going to bring the thunder today and lead her team to a third place finish and I couldn’t be more proud,” said coach Edwards of his daughter, Jasmin.
Sophomore Mikayla Pivec added 15 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. Pivec, who aggressively went to the hoop, made 11 of 15 free throws. The Lynnwood standout earned first-team, all-tournament honors.
“What a great win for us, to be able to struggle in the first half and to be able to come together in the second half,” coach Edwards said. “We made a few adjustments defensively and we played good team basketball and fought our way through for the win.”
Lynnwood (25-2) outscored Moses Lake 17-12 in the third quarter to take a 37-34 lead into the final period. Jasmin Edwards hit a 3-pointer with 1:37 left in the period to tie the score at 34. Pivec then hit one of two free throws and Edwards followed with another basket to close out the quarter.
“We knew this was going to be our last game,” Pivec said. “So we tried to give everything we had in those last 16 minutes to try and get the win.”
The Royals’ aggressive man-to-man defense seemed to wear down the Chiefs in the final eight minutes.
Moses Lake (21-6) was held without a field goal and scored only four points on free throws.
“We just amped up our defensive pressure,” said senior Grace Douglas. “That’s what we’ve been doing all year. We weren’t doing it as good in the first half. … Defense is the key to winning games just like it’s been all season.”
Moses Lake cut the deficit to 39-35 midway through the fourth quarter but would not get any closer thanks to Edwards and Pivec. Down the stretch, Pivec made five of six free throws and Edwards scored a basket and made two free throws.
“We have made history in the sense this is the best girls basketball team that Lynnwood has produced,” coach Edwards said. “I am so proud of our team. We did want to win it all. We had hoped for it. But things don’t always go that way. It’s a great life experience for our girls to face adversity, to face heartbreak yesterday and to have come through and to play today and get a win.”
The Royals graduate three seniors in Jasmin Edwards, Douglas and Hannah Valavala and coach Edwards credits the three with turning around a girls basketball program that had struggled prior to their arrival.
“It’s emotional for me, obviously because of Jasmin,” coach Edwards said of the final game for the seniors. “But with Grace and Hannah, they’ve been great kids and with this team, they really have changed the culture here. We’ve had a lot of challenges at Lynnwood and this senior group really was the one that has changed the culture of girls basketball here at Lynnwood.”
FATHER/DAUGHER HUG: Emotions were running high for Lynnwood senior Grace Douglas when she left the court for the final time during Saturday’s third/fifth place against Moses Lake. One of the first people Douglas saw was father Dave Douglas, an assistant/junior varsity coach. “My dad gave me a hug,” Douglas said. “It was just waterworks. I was like, ‘Oh, why did you do that?’ It was such an incredible feeling. My best high school memories have been with this team.”
FINAL GAME: With the game winding down and Lynnwood ahead by a relatively comfortable margin, senior Jasmin Edwards walked over to her father, coach Everett Edwards, and reminded him about fellow senior Hannah Valavala who had yet to see any action in Saturday’s game. Seconds later, Valavala headed to the court. “It’s her last game as well,” Jasmin Edwards said. “She deserved to be in there.”