Meadowdale struggled in the first quarter against Marysville-Pilchuck and trailed 15-5 in a loser-out 3A District 1 girls basketball tournament game.
But then things went from bad to worse in the second quarter, as the Tomahawks clobbered the Mavericks 17-2 and then went on to a 51-24 victory Wednesday at Meadowdale High School.
The loss didn’t feel good for Marcus Merrifield and his players, but the first-year Meadowdale coach said that the Mavericks should be proud of what ultimately was a successful season.
Meadowdale (8-15 overall), the South’s No. 4 seed to districts, certainly made some noise in the district tournament by upending Everett in the first round and then battling Mountlake Terrace hard in the semifinals before losing.
“It was a real tremendous effort by this team,” Merrifield said. “Nobody thought we were going to go anywhere. We come out and beat a one seed (Everett) and play really well against Terrace. … We were one game away from the district championship when we were picked to finish last in the league. I think that’s commendable for them to play through that and really believe in themselves in the end.”
Much of the team’s success goes to seniors Ndey Sonko, Mackenzie Bretz, Kearstin Franco and Jaclyn Barhoum.
“One of the things that this senior class has really done is brought a toughness and a hustle attitude to what we do and that’s cool,” Merrifield said. “Those are the things I’m going to remember about them.”
What Merrifield won’t remember is a first half and in particularly a nightmarish second quarter where nearly every Meadowdale shot was off the mark.
The Mavericks had decent looks at the basket.
“I think we missed at least 10 to 15 shots at the rim in the first half,” Merrifield said. “Missing shots just kills your confidence and so then you start trying to make up with tougher shots and then those don’t fall and it kind of snowballs.”
The Tomahawks were having better luck with their shots. “Marysville-Pilchuck came out and executed what they were supposed to do,” Merrifield said. “They might have shot somewhere near 50 percent or more. If you can’t match that, it’s hard to keep up.
“That was kind of the game right there.”
Marysville-Pilchuck (10-13) plays Ferndale in a winner-to-state/loser-out game on Feb. 22. Jenika Anglim scored 22 points to lead the Tomahawks. Amanda Klep added 12 points and Charlee Pilon had 10 points.
After being limited to only one free throw in the first half, Sonko came out firing in the second half, scoring 14 of her team-high 15 points.
“We talked in the locker room that this is about energy and I thought she responded real well,” Merrifield said.
The shots finally started to fall for Meadowdale, which still ended up being outscored in the second half 19-17.
Merrifield hopes the Mavericks don’t lose sight of what they accomplished this season.
“We had a good run, not the run we wanted,” he said. “We wanted to go to state. Everybody wants to go to state. We don’t have anything to hang our heads about. We set out and changed people’s minds about us.”
— Story and photos by David Pan/Lynnwood Today