With Meadowdale down by 12 points early in the second quarter, prospects were looking bleak for the Mavericks in their District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament play-in game on Wednesday. But with some pressing defense, some hot outside shooting and a spark from the bench, the Mavs dug themselves out of the hole and reached heights the program hasn’t seen in four years.
Meadowdale earned their way into the 3A district tourney for the first time since 2014 with a 50-39 comeback victory at Shorewood High School over the host Shorewood Thunderbirds.
With the win, the Mavs will travel to Snohomish on Friday, Feb. 9, to take on the 3A Wesco League Champion Snohomish Panthers in a 7 p.m. contest. Win or lose, Meadowdale will play another district tourney game on Tuesday, Feb. 13, against either Arlington or Stanwood at a site to be determined.
The Mavs’ berth to the 3A district tournament didn’t come easy as the squad had to come from behind on Wednesday to get past the T-Birds in the loser-out tilt. Shorewood scored the first 11 points of the game before Kaisha Stark posted the Mavs’ first points five-and-a-half minutes into the game.
Meadowdale then fell behind by twelve, 23-11, just a minute and a half into the second quarter.
“I think nerves got the best of them,” Mavs’ Coach Caitlyn Houvener said of her squad’s slow start. “We haven’t been in this situation, playing for a chance to get to districts, and we’re pretty young — freshmen, sophomores out there playing a lot of minutes. So I think that was the biggest thing; they were just nervous that first quarter and it took us a little bit longer to settle in.”
Meadowdale began finding their own rhythm by disrupting Shorewood’s. Utilizing a pouncing full-court press, the Mavs were able to rattle the T-Birds into making mistakes and taking contested shots.
“(Pressing Shorewood) really helped,” Houvener said, “not only to wear them out a little bit but also to get us some turnovers. We were able to take that defense over to our offense and get going a little bit more.”
The Mavs closed out the second quarter on an 8-0 run, then outscored the T-Birds 31-16 in the second half to claim the victory.
Lilly Williams tallied 18 points to lead the Mavs in scoring. The sophomore sunk five 3-pointers in the contest. “She hit some big ones for us tonight,” said Houvener.
Fatoumata Jaiteh added 13 points for Meadowdale while Alicia Morrison came off the bench to contribute eight points.
Houvener noted the big contribution Morrison made for the team on Wednesday. “She’s been coming off the bench providing a great spark, not only on the offensive end but the defensive end as well and rebounding,” Houvener explained. “Tonight she was finding Fatou and feeding her the ball well. It was fun to see them have that connection. She helped us immensely.”
Overall, the Meadowdale substitutes outscored the T-Bird bench 13-5 in the victory.
Houvener, now in her third year as the Mavs’ coach, was pleased to see her squad get past their early jitters and earn a ticket to the 3A district tournament.
“We’re excited,” she said. “This has been a long time coming for Meadowdale Lady Mavs to get to districts. These girls have put in so much work all year and I’m just so proud of them and so honored to be on this journey with them.”
To view the entire District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament bracket, click www.wescoathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=2480&sport_id=12.
Prep Girls Basketball: Meadowdale at Shorewood, Feb. 7 (District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament Play-In game)
Meadowdale 5 14 17 14 — 50
Shorewood 14 9 7 9 — 39
Meadowdale scoring: Lilly Williams 18, Fatoumata Jaiteh 13, Alicia Morrison 8, Kaisha Stark 5, Soriah Swinton 4, Camryn Cassidy 2, Taylor Kesselring, Kaylee Whatmore, Cassidy Gamble
Shorewood scoring: Davi Borromeo 13, Katie Taylor 9, Sabrina Musye 8, Shailyn Daniels 5, Molly Stamey 4, Brynn Morrison, Megan Peery
Records: Meadowdale 9-12 overall; Shorewood 9-12 overall
Meadowdale next game: versus Snohomish, Friday, Feb. 9, 7 p.m. at Snohomish High School (District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game)
— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski