The Meadowdale Mavericks girls basketball team used an intense full-court pressure and the hot hand of sophomore Lilly Williams who scored 24, to defeat the Everett Seagulls 55-30 at Meadowdale High School Tuesday night in their 2017-18 season opener.
Coming into the season, Mavs head coach Caitlyn Houvener said that the young rosters she’d carried on varsity for the past couple seasons was ready this year to apply their varsity experience on the court.
The Lady Mavs did just that, starting the game with a frenzied attack — a combination of an aggressive full-court press, turning the Seagulls over often, and scoring in transition. When Everett called time out with 3:33 remaining in the first quarter, the Mavericks owned an 18-5 lead, and they finished the first quarter up 23-11. Williams had 12 of her game-high 24 in the first quarter to pace the Meadowdale attack; 18 of those points came from behind the arc, as she hit six 3-point buckets.
“I think they applied great pressure from the beginning.” Houvener said of her team. “I think we’re going to be able to turn teams over by putting on more pressure, and with 12 on varsity, I have more on the bench so I can force the girls to work hard for longer and kind of push the tempo.
The Seagulls hung around in the second quarter, actually outscoring the Mavericks, 10-9. Six of those 10 points came from senior post Kate Pohland, who led the Gulls on the night with 18.
Meadowdale came out after the half and took control, again using a full-court pressure defense that confused Everett, forcing them into mistakes all evening. The Mavs outscored the visitors 23-9 in the second half to secure a 55-30 victory.
Houvener was please to start the year with the convincing win. “It was good to get out and get the first W. See what we need to work on. See what’s working well already. It’s good to have that under our belt.”
Lilly Williams said she was excited to start the year with the victory. “It felt good,” she said. “A lot of energy going into the game. We got the momentum early and kept the flow of it through the end.”
Tuesday night also marked the varsity debut of 6-foot freshman post player Fatoumata Jaiteh who finished with just 6 points, but pulled down double digit rebounds and had a handful of blocked shots. “She is a special kid, on and off the floor,” Houvener said. “She’s got a lot of talent. She’s still pretty raw, so we’re going to keep working her, but I think her future is very bright.”
Williams also complimented her freshman teammate. “She does a good job getting rebounds and looking to kick the ball out for our shooters outside,” Williams said.
Houvener was also pleased with the overall team offensive production. Unlike last year, when Meadowdale relied on guard Selina Tekle for the scoring output, Tuesday night’s performance included eight Mavs in the scoring column.
“This year it is going to be more evenly distributed, and that’s just going to make us harder to guard,” Houvener said. “I was pleased to see them passing the ball. Making that extra pass, finding their teammates, and knocking down shots.”
Meadowdale will have little time to relish this win, as they host the 4A Mariner Marauders at the Stable Wednesday night. The game begins at 7:15 p.m.
Prep Girls Basketball: Everett at Meadowdale, Nov. 28
Everett 23 9 11 12 — 55
Meadowdale 11 10 6 3 — 30
Everett scoring: Kate Pohland 18, Anna Erickson 4, Brooklyn Johnson 3, Morgan Carter 3, Kayla Lay 2
Meadowdale scoring: Lilly Williams 24, Alicia Morrison 10, Adriana Valadez 7, Fatoumata Jaiteh 6, Tyra Gallagher 2, Kaylee Whatmore 2, Camryn Cassidy 2, Soriah Swinton 2
Records: Meadowdale 1-0 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 1-0 overall; Everett 0-1 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 0-1 overall
Meadowdale next game: versus Mariner, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 7:15 p.m. at Meadowdale High School
— Story and photos by Scott Williams