The Edmonds-Woodway boys and girls basketball teams begin their respective post-season journeys this week with the third-seeded girls traveling to Monroe on Tuesday and the second-seeded boys hosting Mount Vernon on Wednesday. Both teams have reason to feel confident about their chances with the girls having gone 9-6 in league and the boys 11-4.
For the girls, Tuesday’s game is a re-match of their Jan. 22 contest, a game which saw the visiting Bearcats handled fairly convincingly by the host Warriors. Sidney Eck controlled the inside for E-W, scoring a game-high 19 points with point Moni Jackson added 13 and guard Mady Burdett also getting 13. Monroe, the second seed from the North, has a balanced attack with five girls averaging between 7-9 points a game. The Bearcats’ second leading scorer, freshman Jadynn Alexander, was held scoreless in the first meeting, but had 22 in a game earlier this year against Kamiak.
Rebekah Wells, in her first year coaching the Warriors, has been pleased with the growth of her team this year.” We’ve gotten a lot faster, a lot quicker.” The Warriors also have no one player dominating the team in scoring, with Eck averaging 13 a game, Natalie Kasper 11, Jackson 10.5 and Burdett 9.5. This has led to teams having difficulty deciding who to focus on stopping. “We have multiple people who can score. If they (the other teams) prepare to stop one, we have other kids who can pick up the slack,” said Wells. After Monday’s practice, the coach could be heard telling her team to “stay calm and play our game. What happened up until now doesn’t matter other than to prepare us for this time of the year. “
If the Warriors are successful in beating Monroe, they will advance to the next round of Districts Friday at the Mountlake Terrace gym, likely against Lynnwood. A loss pits them against likely Lake Stevens in a loser-out game, also Friday at home. For those unable to make it to Monroe, the game will be broadcast on 1380 on the AM dial.
The boys’ game Wednesday is also a re-match of an earlier home contest, a game that saw E-W narrowly beat the Bulldogs 55-54, with Tate Budnick hitting a pair of free-throws with eight seconds left to give the Warriors the late lead and final score. Jason Smarr led E-W in that game with 15, with Budnick finishing with 12 and Theo Lebesis 10. Travis Bakken was held to six in the game, eight below his season average. Leading Mount Vernon, as they have done frequently this season, are Casey Leek and Miles Witt. Witt has seen his scoring totals rise as the season went on, recently racking up 33 against Monroe.
The Warrior boys have been on a roll lately, with only a loss to league leading Jackson standing in their way from having finished the season with eight straight wins. E-W coach Steve Call has talked all season about “ building a mountain.” The season has seen growth at the point guard position. Budnick and freshman Trey Holland rotate at point, with Budnick leading the team in assists at 5.5 a game. Travis Bakken has averaged 14 points and seven rebounds a game.
Lebesis has also proven to be a solid second threat down low both on the offensive and defensive end. Smarr has averaged just shy of 17 a game to lead the Warriors, scoring in double figures in all but one game, including a season- high 29 last month at Monroe. Sophomore Brady Edwards has recently emerged as a legitimate scoring threat, averaging 10 a game in his last five outings, including 18 in a recent win over Kamiak.
The Mount Vernon-Edmonds-Woodway winner faces Wednesday’s Arlington-Kamiak victor on Saturday night. That game is at Mountlake Terrace. Wednesday’s losers will face each other on Saturday at the home of the higher seed. Tip-off for both the boys and girls games is 7 p.m.
— By Jeff Smarr