And it didn't hurt that their offense took off late in the game either.
Everett used a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter -- while holding the Stanwood offense scoreless for over four minutes -- to defeat the Spartans for the first time in three tries this season 59-51 in the 3A district semifinals Friday night at Lynnwood High School.
"We just kept attacking," said Seagulls' head coach John Low. "We talked at halftime about attacking, attacking, attacking."
With the game tied at 36 going into the final quarter, Everett seized momentum early. After Stanwood scored first, Everett went on a 14-2 run that lasted from the 6:25 mark in the fourth quarter until Jillian Jacobs made a free throw with 2:04 remaining in the game.
The Seagulls' defense did what it does best -- turn defensive pressure into turnovers and those turnovers into points on the offensive end.
After being held scoreless in the first quarter, Everett junior Sidney Rielly had 10 of her 18 second-half points in the fourth quarter. She finished with 25 in the game.
"Once we started making baskets the momentum started building," Rielly said. "We play good, hard defense that turns into offense."
Both teams found themselves in foul trouble late in the game. Stanwood committed 28 fouls altogether and Everett had 20. The Spartans had two players foul out of the game while the Seagulls had one.
"It's districts," Rielly said. "Everybody's playing for that spot (in the district championship). Everyone is going hard."
Everett clinched a spot in the district championship on Friday against Glacier Peak and assured the Seagulls of a berth in regionals for the first time since 1996.
"It feels great," Rielly said. "Our team's really improving. ? All our hard work is paying off."
After the game Glacier Peak head coach Brian Hill, whose Grizzlies defeated Ferndale 34-32 in the day's first semifinal game, came over to congratulate Low, and told him, "See you on Friday."
The district championship is at 8 p.m. Friday at Lynnwood High School.
Along with her 25 points, Rielly grabbed 10 rebounds. She also had three steals and three assists in the game.
"We didn't come out and say we need to get the ball to her, she just got it going," Low said.
Kiki Harper had nine points and nine rebounds and Darian Rielly added nine points, six assists, five steals and five rebounds for Everett (12-10 overall) -- which trailed Stanwood for most of the first half and was behind 23-21 at halftime.
The duo helped Everett outscore Stanwood 38-28 in the second half.
"They're a good team," said Dennis Kloke, the Spartans' head coach. "They're well-balanced and they're very athletic."
The third time was the charm for Everett against Stanwood this year. It was the third meeting for the Wesco 3A North rivals this season, with Stanwood winning the previous two games 66-56 on Dec. 18 and 69-43 in the most recent contest on Jan. 28.
"We expected a physical game," Low said. "They're pretty big inside. We challenged our post players to step up and challenge their posts and at least make it difficult for them."
Lauren Allison -- who grabbed six rebounds and five steals -- and Jacobs led Stanwood (18-4) with 12 points apiece. Spartans' post Rachel Swartz added eight points and 10 rebounds.
Kloke said that the Spartans shot 28 percent from the field, adding that makes it particularly difficult to win. He thought his team did a good job of running the offense, at least for the first 24 minutes of the game.
"We wanted to make it a half-court game as much as we could, which we did for three quarters," Kloke said.
The Spartans will host Shorecrest, which defeated Marysville Pilchuck 62-54 in double overtime on Friday, in the consolation bracket on Tuesday. Kloke has no doubt that Stanwood will rebound from Friday night's loss.
"They kept fighting until the end," Kloke said. "There's no quit in the kids. They have too much individual pride and they care too much about each other to let each other down.
"? We're going to have fun now. We've got two more games (to win to get to regionals). That's how we're looking at it. We're going back to work at 8 o'clock (Saturday) morning."
At Lynnwood H.S.
Everett 8 13 15 23 -- 59
Stanwood 13 10 13 15 -- 51
Everett– Kiki Harper 9, Sydney Taggart 0, Darian Rielly 9, Sidney Rielly 25, Tenika Wentworth 2, Rosie Sittauer 3, Amber Hagar 4, Katy Hedington 7. Stanwood– Sierra Palmer 3, Lauren Allison 12, Julia Heichel 2, Samantha Powell 9, Haley Strowbridge 0, Jillian Jacobs 12, Janea Taylor 0, Rachel Swartz 8, Tristan Murphy 5. 3-point goals–D. Rielly 1, Palmer 1, Powell 1, Jacobs 1, Swartz 1. Records–Everett 12-10 overall. Stanwood 18-4.
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