The Seagulls girls basketball team played much of its first 20 games without being at full strength. Tuesday night, however, Everett showed a glimpse of what it can be with all its players, defeating Shorewood 55-46 in a 3A Girls District 1 Tournament opener.
Guard Sidney Rielly scored 15 of her game-high 26 points in the second half to help lead the Seagulls, who advance to play Stanwood on at 8 p.m. on Friday in a winner-to-state semifinal. Shorewood meanwhile will play host Meadowdale at 7 p.m. on Friday in a loser-out game.
Everett coach John Low described Sidney Reilly as "kind of the cog that makes us go," and that was evident in the third quarter when she scored 10 points to help the Seagulls close the period on a 10-3 run and turn a tie score into a seven-point advantage.
"I think other people like Kiki (Harper) and Darian (Rielly, Sidney's sister) scoring points allows me more open opportunities to drive and shoot," Rielly said. "Feeding off my team's energy really got me going."
It wasn't just Sidney Rielly's effort that helped deliver the win, Low added. The Seagulls used basic basketball fundamentals.
"Rebounding (was the difference), I thought that we did a good job of limiting their second-chance, easy baskets," Low said.
The Seagulls out-rebounded the Thunderbirds 40-27. Everett post Rosie Sittauer grabbed 17 of those 40 rebounds.
Everett's defensive intensity stepped up in the second half as well. The Thunderbirds scored just 19 points after the break and Shorewood guard Masha Shtikel, who scored 34 points the last time the two teams played, was held to eight points in the second half and 17 for the game.
"The number one thing on our board was defense," Low said. "Defense wins this game. I thought defensively we did a good job of contesting some of their other players, but just really always trying to keep a body on Masha and not let her get free open looks to get going."
The Thunderbirds, who were at or near the top of the Wesco 3A South standings all season now find themselves in a position where they must win to keep their season alive.
"We put ourselves in a position now where if we don't bring the intensity we go home," Shorewood coach Nina Lowe said. "You have to think about the bad taste in our mouths right now and go back and not want to feel that feeling again."
While the Seagulls got down to basics to get the victory, it was those basic things that failed the Thunderbirds.
"Second-chance shots, points, hustle plays; (the Seagulls) wanted the ball more than we did," Lowe said. "And it was glaringly apparent that they were getting second-, third- and fourth-chance shots, and they were the ones crashing the boards. They were the ones getting easy looks. You play defense and you keep playing defense and you have a letdown like that and it's deflating, and it's difficult to keep coming back from that time and time again."
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Shorewood H.S.
Everett 15 14 14 12 -- 55
Shorewood 11 16 9 10 -- 46
Everett -- Kiki Harper 12, Sydney Taggart 2, Darian Rielly 6, Sidney Rielly 26, Rosie Sittauer 4, Amber Hagar 0, Katy Hedington 5. Shorewood -- Masha Shtikel 17, Lauren Thompson 3, Kayla Bradley 3, Gabby Hager 0, Salyna McDonald 5, Lily Gustafson 8, Abby Gustafson 0, Angel Tulee 4, Kassie Rasmussen 6. 3-point goals -- S. Rielly 1, Shtikel 1, Thompson 1, Bradley 1. Records -- Everett 11-10, Shorewood 14-7.
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