For the Edmonds-Woodway girls basketball team, victory this season has meant winning the second half. Monday night saw the trend continue as E-W turned a one- point half-time deficit into a16-point winning margin, outscoring visiting Seattle Prep 44-27 in the second half enroute to a 73-57 win over the Panthers.
“We’ve been a second-half team all year,” said Warrior coach Rebekah Wells. “We see how they play, then make an adjustment at half time.”
Coach Wells came into the game knowing while Prep had lost several players from a team that finished second in state last year, they still had standouts Mary Ann Santucci and Olivia Morrow. Early on, Morrow and Santucci delivered, scoring 11 of the Panther’s 13 first-quarter points. E-W, however, was able to take an early lead, going on an 13-4 run to open up the game. Mady Burdett had a pair of baskets in the run, along with four points from Sydney Peterson, as the Warriors ended the quarter up 16-13. Peterson would go on to finish with 13 in the game.
The second quarter saw Prep make the first seven points of the period before Natalie Kasper scored five straight points. Kasper’s second basket came after a brilliant outlet pass from Leah Bakken found Maddy Nealey, who in turn spotted Kasper in the corner for the open three. It was the first of five assists for the senior guard. The Panthers’ Santucci was determined to keep her team in the game, scoring nine in the frame, one less than Kasper’s 10. At the half, the score was 30-29 in favor of Seattle Prep.
The third period was really where the Warriors won the game, first by going on a 9-1 run and then — after Prep made a basket — scoring seven straight as they jumped to a 50-39 lead. Moni Jackson had two steals, which led to lay-ins, as the Warriors picked up the pace. Post Sidney Eck also got more involved, scoring six of her 12 points in the quarter.
“They switched to a man defense to stop our 3’s,” said Wells. “That opened up the middle for Sid and she took advantage.” Kasper continued her hot hand, contributing another 10 of her game-high 25 points. “She (Kasper,) is so multi-dimensional,” Wells added. “I’ve been encouraging her to drive more and she’s responded.” The Warriors outscored the Panthers 25-10 in the quarter to enter the final period with a 14-point lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Warriors began to pile up assists, including one play where Peterson and Kasper passed it back and forth four times before Kasper finished the play with a 3-pointer. “ When we share the ball, good things happen,” said Wells. Prep closed the gap briefly to 11, before E-W ran off seven straight points, extending the lead to 17, the final margin, with just over three minutes left.
Wells was also proud of her team’s defense in the second half, noting they switched from a “box and one” to a 2-3 zone in limiting Prep to 10 points in the third quarter, and 27 in the entire half. Prep’s Santucci, who finished with 22, was held scoreless in the fourth quarter. “Defense wins games,” said Wells, who also mentioned the players’ converting 9 of 11 free throws.
In addition to Kasper’s 25, Peterson’s 13 and Eck’s 12, Burdett finished with 10 points, Jackson added eight along with a game-high six assists and three steals. Maddy Nealey rounded out the Warrior scoring with four points in addition to her five assists. The win, E-W’s fifth straight, puts them at 8-2 on the season, setting up a game with North division leader undefeated Arlington on Thursday night. “We will watch a lot of film and start preparation tomorrow,” said Wells.
E-W: 16 13 25-19 73
Seattle Prep: 13 17 10 17 57
Warriors Scoring: Burdett 10, Eck 12, Kasper 25, Jackson 8, Nealey 4, Bakken 1, Peterson 13, Fyfe, Wooley
— By Jeff Smarr