Coming off a close loss to Stanwood on Tuesday night, the Lynnwood Royals girls basketball team welcomed the Oak Harbor Wildcats to Lynnwood High School Friday night for a 3A Wesco conference battle.
Oak Harbor got the scoring started by scoring quickly off the opening tip.
From there on it was all Lynnwood.
The Royals used pressure defense all over the court to force the taller Wildcats into repeated turnovers, converting those into points on Lynnwood’s way to a 65-45 victory.
“A good conference win.” Coach Brandon Newby said after the game. “We were able to work on a lot of stuff tonight. A lot of stuff we struggled against in our last game. Really work on rebounding, that kind of killed us in our game against Stanwood.” He continued.
This is a Lynnwood team that is finally playing at full strength, or close to it after missing several players in early games, including their star junior guard Nakia Boston, who missed some time due to an undisclosed illness.
“Yeah, it’s good to have that rotation. Three solid ball handlers out there that can facilitate and really work off of each other. It’s essential for us to have all three on the court. If we don’t have that, there’s a void, and we feel it. It’s nice now that we are able to stretch Nakia out a little bit and give her more minutes and she did great tonight.”
When Coach Newby speaks of three solid ball handlers, he’s referring to Boston, as well as All-conference guard (and leading scorer so far this season) Amayah Kirkman, and freshman Mia Jones, who has been a bright spot for the Royals this season.
“She is a pretty talented freshman,” Newby said. “There is a learning curve playing varsity basketball for the first time. She’s learning. She’s learning every game out she’s getting a little better, and that’s what we’re asking of her. She’s growing up fast.”
Kirkman, a junior guard, continued her impressive work, pouring in five first-half 3-pointers and finishing the night with a game-high 24 points.
Pitching in with nine points on three 3-pointers of her own was junior reserve guard Marika Canda.
“I told her tonight was going to be her night,” Newby said of Canda. “We really worked yesterday on setting her feet. When she gets excited out there, she tends to rush, but she’s got great arch on her shot. So, if we can set her feet, it goes down. I told her right before the game, set your feet and you’re going to knock ‘em down, and she was square on every single time she got the ball tonight.”
The Royals will get a few days off with the Christmas holiday before traveling north to the Blaine Holiday Tournament next Thursday, Dec. 27, where they will take on Bellingham at 2 p.m. at Blaine High School. They will turn around and face Renton at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28.
Girls Basketball: Oak Harbor at Lynnwood, Dec. 21, 2018
Oak Harbor 8 6 13 18 —45
Lynnwood 15 21 14 15 —65
Oak Harbor scoring: Anna Jones-Cortes 12, Jasmine Ford 11, Miranda Wilson 6, Payton Parks 5, Emily Gouge 5, Olivia Waite 4, Mikhaela Cortez 2
Lynnwood scoring: Amayah Kirkman 24, Nakia Boston 16, Mia Jones 10, Marika Canda 9, Katelyn Kesinger 4, Jayden Angell 2
Records: Oak Harbor 0-4 Conference, 2-6 overall; Lynnwood 3-1 Conference, 5-3 overall
Oak Harbor’s next game: versus Mount Vernon, Dec. 27, 7:15 p.m. at Mount Vernon High School
Lynnwood’s next game: versus Bellingham, Dec. 27, 2 p.m. at Blaine High School
— Story and photos by Scott Williams