A major case of first-game jitters left the Meadowdale Mavericks in a hole too deep to climb out of on Saturday as the team was put down by the Issaquah Eagles 69-64 in a girls basketball non-league contest played at Meadowdale High School.
The Lady Mavs trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half after shooting just 24% (6-for-25) from the field and committing 11 turnovers before halftime.
Meadowdale coach Arie Mahler chalked up the rough start to nervousness that affects many teams in their first outing of the season. “That’s typical first game stuff,” he said.
The Mavs held one lead in the game at 1-0 after senior Lilly Williams converted one of two free throws to start the contest; Issaquah was assessed a technical foul even before the opening tipoff for submitting an incomplete scorebook to the scoring table, leading to the Williams free throw attempts.
But once play got underway, it was all Eagles in the first half. Issaquah led 37-17 with 1:34 to go before halftime and took a 39-20 lead into the locker room at the break.
A switch to a zone defense and better shooting changed the Mavs’ fortunes in the second half. Led by the 13 fourth-quarter points of junior Fatoumata Jaitah, Meadowdale slowly whittled the Eagles lead down to four points at 67-63 with 21.2 seconds to go in the game. But Issaquah’s Keira Hanson sunk two free throws with 15.5 seconds to go, increasing the lead to six and putting an end to the Mavs’ hopes of a comeback victory.
Despite the loss, Mahler liked the effort and play of his Mavs’ squad during the second half when the team outscored the Eagles 44-30.
“I could not be more proud of them,” Mahler said. “I think what I saw in the second half is what I saw at the end of last year. We are three weeks in now (since 2019-2020 practices started) and they are proving to me that they want to build on what they did last year.”
Last February the Mavs won three of four games in the 2019 District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament to qualify for the regional round of the state tourney were they lost a heartbreaker to West Seattle 41-40.
Jaitah led Meadowdale in scoring on Saturday with 20 points even though the junior was forced to sit most of the third quarter and into the fourth after picking up her fourth foul just 1:26 into the second half. Alicia Morrison added 14 points while Williams contributed 11 points.
Two freshmen played significant minutes for the Mavs during their second-half surge: Ava Powell scored five points and will be on Meadowdale’s varsity roster throughout this season while Jordan Leith also tallied five points and — though officially a member of the junior varsity — may see some more time playing with the varsity squad.
“She is making it hard not to play her,” Mahler said of Leith. “She’s a spark plug.”
The Mavericks will hit the road for their next contest on Tuesday, Dec. 10, when they face the Monroe Bearcats; tipoff at Monroe High School is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
In other Meadowdale sports action on Saturday, the Mavs’ boys basketball team dropped to 0-2 this year after a 54-37 loss to the Squalicum Storm in a non-league game played at Squalicum High School in Bellingham.
The Mavericks were led in scoring by the 13 points of Cole Nelson.
The Meadowdale wrestling team saw action at the Edmonds-Woodway Tournament held Saturday at Edmonds-Woodway High School.
Prep Girls Basketball: Issaquah at Meadowdale, Dec. 7
Issaquah 22 17 16 14 — 69
Meadowdale 10 10 22 22 — 64
Meadowdale individual scoring: Fatoumata Jaiteh 20, Alicia Morrison 14, Lilly Williams 11, Soriah Swinton 6, Jordan Leith 5, Ava Powell 5, Kaisha Stark 2, Silja Knutsen 1, Maia Austvold, Nicole Dallas
Issaquah individual scoring: Alivia Stephens 20, Keira Hanson 11, Lauren Frueh 10, Shea Dillon 9, Katie MacNary 8, Erin Schobbe 5, Mercedes Tinder 4, Cam Gibson 2, Keira Slippern, Hannah Cameron
Records: Meadowdale 0-0 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 0-0 overall; Issaquah 0-0 in 4A KingCo Conference Crest Division, 2-0 overall
Meadowdale next game: versus Monroe; Tuesday, Dec. 10; 7:15 p.m. at Monroe High School
Prep Boys Basketball: Meadowdale at Squalicum, Dec. 7
Meadowdale 8 7 9 13 — 37
Squalicum 12 15 16 11 — 54
Meadowdale individual scoring: Cole Nelson 13, Hunter Moen 6, Zach White 6, Colton Walsh 3, Beau Hopkins 3, Leonardo Baquian 3, Mason Vaughn 2, Justin Jackson 1, Will McKinley, Aaron Shrestha
Squalicum individual scoring: (not reported)
Records: Meadowdale 0-0 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 0-2 overall; Squalicum 0-0 in 1A/2A/3A Northwest Conference, 2-1 overall
Meadowdale next game: versus Mariner; Monday, Dec. 9; 7:15 p.m. at Meadowdale High School
Prep Wrestling: Meadowdale at the Edmonds-Woodway Tournament, Dec. 7
Team standings (top four and Meadowdale):
1. Orting 244
2. Yelm 195.5
3. Union 167.5
4. (tie) Edmonds-Woodway 160.5
4. (tie) Kentwood 160.5
7. Meadowdale 110
Meadowdale top finishers:
— Alex Kreuger, 1st place in the 285-pound division
— Nathan Lee, 5th place in the 132-pound division
— Thaddeus Gonzalez-Serena, 5th place in the 160-pound division
— Saul Hernandez, 5th place in the 195-pound division
— Jen Lee, 7th place in the 138-pound division
Meadowdale next match: versus Kamiak; Thursday, Dec. 12; 7 p.m. at Kamiak High School
— By Doug Petrowski