BOTHELL -- The losers knew they were going home.
So the Stanwood and Shorewood girls basketball teams battled to keep their respective seasons alive. In the end, a 7-0 run by the Spartans to start the fourth quarter proved to be the difference, as Stanwood defeated Shorewood 55-47 in the 3A District third-place game and advanced to regionals.
The loss ended the Thunderbirds' season.
"I'm thrilled for the girls," said Stanwood head coach Dennis Kloke. "A lot of teams get knocked out in the semifinals and they don't respond."
With the scored tied at 37 going into the final quarter, Stanwood got a quick basket by Lauren Allison. The Spartans followed that up with a steal, two more points from Sierra Palmer and then Palmer added another 3-pointer after a Stanwood rebound to give the Spartans a quick 44-37 advantage.
"We get our runs off defense, not offense," Kloke said. "We got a couple quick steals there and that led to baskets."
The game was close throughout with Stanwood holding a slim 23-21 lead at halftime. Shorewood's Lauren Thompson made a 3-pointer right before the break to cut the Spartans' lead to two points.
The Thunderbirds struck again at the end of the third quarter, with senior Masha Shtikel making a 3-pointer that just beat the buzzer to tie the score at 37 going into the fourth.
But Jillian Jacobs hit a couple key free throws late in the final quarter that helped put the game away for Stanwood. The Spartans had a very balanced scoring attack led by Tristan Murphy, who scored 12 points. Allison (10 points), Samantha Powell (10), Rachel Swartz (10) and Jacobs (8) also contributed to the Stanwood offense.
Schwartz, who will be playing at Missouri State once her high school career is over, recorded a double-double with 15 rebounds – 11 of which came in the first half where she almost outrebounded Shorewood (12 team rebounds) by herself.
Schwartz grabbed five of those on the offensive side of the ball.
"Those rebounds down the stretch, that was huge," Kloke said.
It was the second straight year the Spartans worked their way through the consolation bracket and finished third.
Shtikel led the Thunderbirds with 17 points -- including four 3-pointers. She also grabbed seven rebounds and three steals.
During the regular season, Shorewood was the only Wesco 3A team to defeat Stanwood, and it defeated the Spartans big, winning 64-39 on Jan. 30. Kloke said he "doesn't believe" in revenge, and that wasn't a motivating factor for Stanwood. In fact, he praised the Thunderbird coaches for what he saw after the game.
"I thought the coaches at Shorewood have really taught the kids how important the game is," Kloke said. "Those kids have tears in their eyes. They really cared. I hate to see kids care that much and not get rewarded. But that's the competition. We were the better team tonight. They were the better team the first time we played."
At Lynnwood H.S.
Shorewood 14 7 16 10 – 47
Stanwood 13 10 14 18 – 55
Shorewood–Masha Shtikel 17, Lauren Thompson 5, Kayla Bradley 3, Gabby Hagar 2, Salyna McDonald 5, Lily Gustafson 6, Abby Gustafson 2, Angel Tulee 7, Karrin Leazer 0. Stanwood– Sierra Palmer 5, Lauren Allison 10, Julia Heichel 0, Samantha Powell 10, Haley Strowbridge 0, Jillian Jacobs 8, Janea Taylor 0, Rachel Swartz 10, Tristan Murphy 12. 3-point goals–Shtikel 4, Thompson 1, Bradley 1, Jacobs 2, Palmer 1. Records–Shorewood 17-7 overall. Stanwood 20-4.
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