The Edmonds-Woodway boys basketball team did something Thursday night they had yet to do in coach Steve Call’s three-year tenure: Advance out of the District 1 tournament. Thanks to a 66-55 victory over Snohomish, the Warriors did just that, earning the right to host District 2 representative Bothell Saturday night with the winner earning a bid to the State 4A tournament. “It’s at our place, I’m excited,” said Call.
Snohomish and Edmonds-Woodway met earlier in the season, a game that politely could be called “sluggish.” The first quarter Thursday started in a similar vein with both teams feeling each other out. Travis Bakken, as has been his habit of late, started strong, scoring eight of E-W’s 13, with Brady Edwards accounting for the other five in the period. The Panthers’ Josh Baird, who scored 17 in the two teams’ earlier meeting, had five in the first quarter for Snohomish, but it would end up being the only points he would get all night. “ We were trying to keep the ball out of his hands,” said Call. “I think we did a good job.”
The second quarter belonged to the Warriors as they outscored the Panthers 22-10. Jordan Rice, back from a foot injury, hit back-to-back threes halfway through the quarter to put the Warriors up by eight, starting Edmonds-Woodway on a 14-2 run that included a basket by Jason Smarr, his first of the night. Rice’s fellow sophomore Edwards added five more in the quarter, giving him 10 for the half, just below team leader Bakken’s 12.
Theo Lebesis scored the first basket for E-W in the third quarter. Bakken then made a thunderous dunk, followed by a pair of blocks on the Panthers’ Ty Carlson. Snohomish would respond though, closing the gap to 10. Smarr, the Warriors’ leading scorer on the season, would contribute the next 12 points of the game to put E-W up by 20 with just over a minute left in the third. Smarr’s 12 included two threes and three twos, the final one on a steal and conversion. Snohomish ended the quarter on a 7-0 run, but still trailed by 15 to start the fourth.
The Warriors tried to slow the game down in the fourth and it resulted in a lull in their offensive output. With 5:20 left, an intentional foul was called on Edmonds-Woodway and after Snohomish converted the free throws, the lead was down to 11. Edwards got E-W back on track first with a no-look pass to Bakken for a layup and then by hitting a deep three.
Up 13 with 3:15 left, things again stalled for the Warriors, but there was still much ground for the Panthers to make up. E-W missed multiple free throws down the stretch, allowing the gap to close to seven at the one minute mark. Smarr was fouled on back-to-back possessions and he made all four free throws to seal the victory and the trip to the Kingco crossover game on Saturday at 5 p.m. vs. Bothell at the EWHS gym. “ We haven’t been in this spot in 3 years. I’m really happy for the seniors, “ said Call.
The Warriors had three players in double figures, with Smarr leading the way with 21. Bakken had 19, along with 10 rebounds and six blocks. Edwards continued his late-season push with 14 and Rice ended with up with eight. “Jason and Travis have been our go-to guys all year. When Jason’s hitting, they have to extend and Travis, he’s just a workhorse, “ said Call. Collin Kane led the Panthers with 19 and Ivelia added 12.
Saturday’s game against Bothell will be part of a double-header with both the boys and girls playing host to Kingco teams. As Coach Call says,” The boys and girls playing at home. How can you not like that?” Both games will also be broadcast live on the Sound Live Sports Network.
Warrior scoring: Holland , Rice 8, Edwards 14, Budnick , Sherrill , Levesis 4, Smarr 21, Bakken 19, Okereke
— By Jeff Smarr