By David Krueger Herald Writer
STANWOOD AND LAKE STEVENS
It’s impossible to pick between the two. Both teams have one loss this season, to each other. Lake Stevens finished fourth at state last year, so it has the playoff experience. But Stanwood hasn’t lost a game since Dec. 9, and is led by seven seniors who want to make their final basketball season a memorable one.
It’s weird to call the 17-3 Jackson Timberwolves a “dark horse.” The Timberwolves are like the New York Yankees, they don’t always win the championship, but they’re always in the playoffs. The Timberwolves only losses are to Lynnwood (early in the season), Stanwood (by two points) and Lake Stevens. If Jackson can make some adjustments it’s more than capable of winning the whole thing.
The Warriors got to the Tacoma Dome last year, but lost in the first round of the Hardwood Classic. Edmonds-Woodway did finish second in the Wesco South, and, if it can find a way to put some playoff magic together, could make a little noise in the district playoffs. However, it’s also possible the 10-10 Warriors could exit the tournament early.
ABBY MOLSTRE, LAKE STEVENS AND PAISLEY HECKMAN, STANWOOD
The two post players are rebound machines for their respective teams. The only difference, besides the jerseys they wear, is that Heckman is 6-feet tall, and Molstre is 5-7. The Vikings don’t have a player over 5-10, so Molstre needs to continue to bring in the boards for Lake Stevens against several likely taller defenders. She was in foul trouble for much of the Vikings’ loss to Stanwood. The Spartans had success working the ball inside to Heckman in their second game against Lake Stevens, and may need to do the same against other fast-paced teams at districts to slow the game down.
Stanwood and Lake Stevens will meet in the district tournament — possibly in the championship game. Both teams defeated each other on their home courts, so at a neutral site anything’s possible. Stanwood and Lake Stevens have contrasting styles, and it might come down to which team gets in foul trouble first. The Spartans are on an amazing run, and something tells me that will continue as the Spartans bring home the district trophy.
WHO WINS: STANWOOD