Meadowdale put together its best first half of the season against Shorewood in Wednesday night’s Wesco 3A South Division clash.
The Mavericks needed that strong first half because the Thunderbirds stormed back from a 20-point deficit and were a 3-point shot away from sending the game into overtime.
Meadowdale instead hung on for a 49-46 victory in a girls basketball thriller at Shorewood High School.
“That game was a big building block,” said Meadowdale coach Marcus Merrifield. “At this time of the year it’s about surviving. That was a big win and we went in saying that’s a game we have to win.
The Mavericks seemed to take Merrifield’s talk to heart as they jumped out to a 19-6 first quarter lead. Eventually Meadowdale stretched the advantage to 41-21 in the third quarter.
“We finally played like we’re capable of playing,” Merrifield said.
But by the end of the quarter, the Thunderbirds started chipping away at the lead and trailed 43-28.
A 12-2 run at the start of the fourth quarter enabled Shorewood to cut the deficit to 45-40 with five minutes left in the game. Meadowdale’s Kearstin Franco then connected on a 3-pointer.
The Mavericks held a 49-42 advantage with just over two minutes left when Shorewood’s Karrin Leazer made back-to-back baskets to cut the deficit to 49-46 with 1:24 left. Neither team scored the rest of the way, though Shorewood’s Kayla Bradley nearly sent the game into overtime with a 3-point shot at the buzzer.
Meadowdale was playing without Ndey Sonko and Jaclyn Barhoum, both of whom fouled out, for much of the fourth quarter.
“We talked at the beginning that in every game there’s adversity,” Merrifield said. “It’s not that there is adversity. It’s how we respond to that adversity and I thought we didn’t let ourselves get down and we didn’t let the adversity conquer us. I thought we conquered the adversity in that game.”
Shorewood made some adjustments in the second half and after shooting well for most of the game, Meadowdale struggled, especially in the fourth quarter.
“We just couldn’t get clean looks at the hoop and we just missed some shots,” Merrifield said. “Then when we got to the free throw line, we just didn’t put them in and finish it. … Inevitably when you have a good half, you have a half that you don’t shoot as well.”
Sonko scored a team-high 12 points. Mackenzie Bretz and Franco each added 8 points. Shorewood’s Leazer had a game-high 16 points.
“(Sonko) was great on the boards,” Merrifield said. “She was putting the ball in the hoop. She was just going hard. I’m real proud of her effort. I thought Cierra Hart played some really great minutes in the first half. She just kept us calm and kept us going. We finished well in the first half.”
Meadowdale improved to 4-6 in the league and 6-11 overall. The Mavericks are going to need some help if they are going to advance to districts.
Shorewood, remains in fourth place with a 5-5 league mark and is 11-6 overall. The Mavericks play Glacier Peak (8-2, 16-2) on Friday and wrap up next week with Marysville-Getchell (1-8, 4-12) and Shorecrest (8-2, 13-4). Shorewood faces Mountlake Terrace (9-1, 14-3), Glacier Peak (8-2, 16-2) and Stanwood (5-5, 8-8). Only the top four teams advance to districts.
— Story and photos by David Pan