Prep girls basketball: Royals top Mavs, 69-37

In the midst of a rare three-game losing streak, the Lynnwood Royals girls basketball team hosted Meadowdale Wednesday night, looking to get back into the win column and solidify their position as one of the teams that qualify for postseason play. From the tip, the game was all Lynnwood, as they raced out to a 20-0 lead before Lilly Williams got the Lady Mavericks on the board with 3:50 to play in the opening quarter. Lynnwood went on to win the game 69-37 at Lynnwood High School.

The last time that the Lady Royals had lost three or more consecutive games was the 2009-2010 season, when they lost four straight to Jackson, Glacier Peak, Meadowdale and Edmonds-Woodway.

That season also marks the last in which Meadowdale had won a game against Lynnwood. That streak wasn’t in jeopardy Wednesday night.

Using their trademark full-court pressure, the Royals caused all kinds of early problems for the Mavericks guards to get the ball in-bounds and down the court. The Royals were able to turn those Meadowdale difficulties into quick scoring opportunities, and score they did.

Leading the charge out of the gate was the hot-handed senior guard Rachel Walsh. She got the scoring started with two quick 3 pointers, and later added another 3 and a lay-in off a steal and assist from teammate Amayah Kirkman.

Before the first quarter was even half over, the Royals were the owners of a 20-0 lead, 11 of them courtesy of Walsh.

Meadowdale sophomore guard Lilly Williams finally got the Mavs on the scoreboard when she drained an eight-foot baseline jumper with 3:50 to play in the quarter.

Guards Soriah Swinton and Kaisha Stark followed, each scoring on 3-pointers, to pull Meadowdale to within 12 points at 20-8, which would prove to be as close as the Mavericks would manage the rest of the way.

Lynnwood finished the first quarter leading 28-11, then outscored Meadowdale 19-4 in the second quarter to take a 47-15 lead into the half. Walsh finished the half with 19 points, 14 of which came in the first quarter.

The Mavericks managed to keep things closer in the second half, when each team scored 22 points.

The Royals, with their full court pressure defense and 3-point shooting from Walsh and company, proved to be too much for the Mavs on the night, and they coasted to a 69-37 win.

Lynnwood head coach Brandon Newby spoke after the game about ending the losing streak and getting a win.

“Going through that gauntlet, against three very good teams (Snohomish, Stanwood and Edmonds-Woodway), we played good basketball against them, we just didn’t have the athletes to keep the games close. They just kind of extended from us. But we got through that, got the win tonight, and now we need to position ourselves for playoffs.”

He went on to praise Rachel Walsh and his team on their hot 3-point shooting for the game.

“We really practiced hard on busting their zone,” Newby said. “We had some good set plays that we were working to get some open threes. We shot the lights out from the 3-point line tonight. Forty-seven percent, nine of 19. We got the shots that we needed, got the looks that we needed, and our big three (Walsh, Boston and Kirkman) really stepped up tonight and got us that early lead to start the game.”

Walsh led all scorers with 24 points, six of them 3-pointers. Sophomore guards Nakia Boston and Amayah Kirkman each added 16 for the Royals. Lilly Williams was the only Maverick in double digits, with 10.

“We knew Meadowdale was going to pretty much run a 2-3 (zone defense),” Walsh said. “My teammates did a really great job of finding me in the gaps and I was just hitting tonight. Amayah and Nakia are such great assets to have out there. I’m really luck to have them this year. They do a good job facilitating the ball and I mean, Abby Douglas in there pulling down boards and Liz (Jones) hitting shots when we get her the ball. It’s nice to see it all come together.”

The Royals’ next will host the Shorewood Thunderbirds this Friday, Jan. 19, at Lynnwood High School. That game will start at 7:15 p.m.

Meadowdale’s next two games will be critical if they hope to qualify for the play-in round of playoff games, as they will face the two teams directly ahead of them in the standings: Friday, Jan. 19 against Marysville-Getchell and then Wednesday, Jan. 24 against Everett. Both will be home games for the Mavs at Meadowdale High School starting at 7:15 p.m.

Girls Basketball: Meadowdale at Lynnwood, Jan. 17

Meadowdale                     11    04     10    12 —37

Lynnwood                         28    19     08    14 —69

Meadowdale scoring: Lilly Williams 10, Soriah Swinton 8, Fatoumata Jaiteh 4, Taylor Kesselring 3, Kaisha Stark 3, Tyra Gallagher 3, Camryn Cassidy 2, Maia Austvold 2, Kaylee Whatmore 2

Lynnwood scoring: Rachel Walsh 24, Amayah Kirkman 16, Nakia Boston 16, Abby Douglas 8, Liz Jones 4, Emily Whybark 1

Records: Meadowdale 1-5 in 3A Wesco League, 4-10 overall; Lynnwood 3-3 in 3A Wesco League, 7-7 overall

Meadowdale’s next game: versus Marysville-Getchell, Friday, Jan. 19, 7:15 p.m. at Meadowdale High School.

Lynnwood’s next game: versus Shorewood Friday, Jan. 19, 7:15 p.m. at Lynnwood High School

— Story and photos by Scott Williams

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