With no seniors on the squad, there are some nights on the basketball court when the Meadowdale Mavericks can do little more than gain experience in a match-up against a more veteran team. Friday was one of those nights.
The Mavericks — starting a two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman — were schooled by the Stanwood Spartans 62-36 in the team’s home finale of the 2017-2018 regular season.
The Spartans never trailed in the contest, jumping out to an 11-2 early lead and a 43-15 advantage at halftime on their way to a victory.
Mavs Coach Caitlyn Houvener recognized the experience that Stanwood was able to put on the court, starting four seniors and a junior against her young squad.
“You could tell that they’re a solid group of seniors that have been playing together for a really long time and have a lot of varsity experience,” Houvener said of the Spartans. “ I think most of those seniors played on varsity their freshman year so they’ve been together since the beginning.”
Despite the mismatch, Houvener praised her Mavs for facing the challenge head-on.
“Good for our girls to go up against teams like this and continue to improve,” she said. “I’m really proud of their effort tonight.”
The Spartans (9-2 in 3A Wesco League play, 13-5 overall) enjoyed a big rebounding advantage in the first half, leading to numerous opportunities for fast breaks and easy layins.
“They transition really well,” Houvener said of the Spartans. “We didn’t get back in transition defense, so they got a lot of easy points and that’s always hard to overcome. And they were just kind of out-muscling us a little bit in the first half.”
The Mavs were able to stay even with the Spartans in second-half scoring, something Houvener noted as a positive for her squad.
“I was proud of my girls and the adjustment they made,” she state. “They played a lot less intimidated and stood their ground a little bit more in the second half. So I was happy to see that.”
Ashley Alter scored 30 points — all in the first three quarters — to lead the Spartans in the victory. Jillian Heichel and Madison Chisman chipped in 14 and 12 points respectively for Stanwood.
Freshman Fatoumata Jaiteh led Meadowdale in scoring with eight points. The team’s leading scorer, Lilly Williams, was held to just three points — scored on a jumper from beyond the 3-point arc midway through the first quarter –and played limited minutes in the second half.
“She’s been battling a knee injury and so in a game like this where it’s kind of out of reach by the fourth quarter I like to rest her,” Houvener explained. “We have a big week next week; we finish up with Oak Harbor and then we’ll probably secure one of those play-in games. So I need us to be as full-strength as possible next week.”
The Mavs (4-7 in Wesco League, 7-12 overall) play the Wildcats on the road on Monday, Feb. 5, then will likely be the visiting team in a Wednesday, Feb. 7, District 1 3A Girls Basketball Play-in Game. A victory in that contest would earn the team a spot in the double-elimination District 1 tournament that begins on Feb. 8
“It’s exciting to know that Monday won’t be our last game and we’ll have a chance to continue on this season,” Houvener concluded. “We’re still in it and we still could have a lot of basketball left in February.”
Prep Girls Basketball: Everett at Lynnwood, Feb. 2
Stanwood 23 20 13 7 — 62
Meadowdale 9 6 13 8 — 36
Meadowdale scoring: Fatoumata Jaiteh 8, Camryn Cassidy 7, Soriah Swinton 7, Alicia Morrison 6, Kaisha Stark 5, Lilly Williams 3, Taylor Kesselring, Cassidy Gamble, Kaylee Whatmore
Stanwood scoring: Ashley Alter 30, Jillian Heichel 14, Madison Chisman 12, Kaitlin Larson 2, Madison Plautz 2, Shelby Lund, Kayla Frazier, Madeline Larson, Koa Beck, Allie Jones
Records: Meadowdale 4-7 in 3A Wesco League, 7-12 overall; Stanwood 9-2 in 3A Wesco League, 13-5 overall
— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski