By David Krueger Herald Writer
MONROE — A year ago, Edmonds-Woodway’s season ended with a 49-36 loss to Monroe in the district tournament.
Tuesday night, the Warriors were out for a little revenge … and got it.
On the road for the first round of the 4A District 1 Tournament, Edmonds-Woodway held off a late charge by Monroe for a 45-35 victory over the Bearcats at Monroe High School.
“Last year, they got thrown out of the tournament by Monroe, so they had a little bit of a grudge coming back into it and they just stuck with it and didn’t give up,” Edmonds-Woodway head coach Rebekah Wells said of her players. “They wanted this one.”
The Warriors went 0-2 at last year’s district tournament, with the second, season-ending loss coming to Monroe. Edmonds-Woodway already has topped that mark from last year with Tuesday’s victory and advances to take on Lynnwood 6 p.m. Friday at Mountlake Terrace High School in a winner-to-state, district semifinal game.
Edmonds-Woodway held the lead for most of the game, up by as many as 12 points in the final quarter. That’s when Monroe made its move, getting the ball into the post and finding its way to the free-throw line. Eight of the Bearcats’ 10 fourth-quarter points came from free throws.
Monroe cut the Edmonds-Woodway lead to four points with 2 minutes and 57 seconds to play in the game, but that was as close as the Bearcats got. The Warriors made free throws themselves — with Kate Wooley and Sidney Eck knocking down some clutch shots from the line — to clinch the victory.
“We were having turnovers and just not closing out on defense and they were making their shots,” Wells said of the final period. “It just made it a little bit closer game than I would have liked. But the girls were able to pull it back together and compose themselves.”
Both teams gave the ball away quite a bit in the game, which featured an incredibly fast tempo by both teams.
Wells said that her team enjoys the frantic pace.
“I like a quicker-paced game, just because these girls work well off that,” Wells said. “I think it’s just districts — the hype of everything — there’s more nerves so we have more turnovers. But I like it quicker paced, but maybe not quite as frantic.”
Sidney Eck led a balanced scoring attack for Edmonds-Woodway (14-7 overall) with 12 points and seven rebounds. Moni Jackson scored 11 points and freshman Missy Peterson added 10 for the Warriors, who were without junior guard Natalie Kasper — and her 11 points a game — who was out with pneumonia.
Wells hopes to have Kasper back as soon as possible.
“We had Natalie Kasper out and I just called upon some of the girls that normally maybe don’t score as high and said, ‘Hey, I need you to score today,’” Wells said. “And the great thing about this team is we’re very balanced. We can rely on anyone to score. Our freshman, Missy Peterson, scored more than maybe she averages.”
Monroe head coach Matt Chalfant said the Bearcats’ had similar nerves in the big district game and they may have gotten to Monroe a bit. However, once the Monroe offense settled down and got back to its gameplan — working the ball into the post against the Warriors’ zone defense — in the fourth quarter the Bearcats were able to make a run.
“We executed our gameplan,” Chalfant said. “Our message after the game was we did not execute what we had practiced the last four days. I think the moment got a little too big for us at times, with the bright lights, big crowds, playoffs — and I think some of us panicked. We talked at halftime about settling down and executing.
“Once we did that, we started scoring.”
Amber Van Brunt had six of her team-high 12 points in the fourth quarter as Monroe (11-10) worked the ball into her down low and she was able to get baskets or fouls called against Edmonds-Woodway.
“I’m really looking forward to watching the film tomorrow because our posts absolutely worked their butts off tonight (against) that zone on the backside,” Chalfant said. “Amber was a beast in there. She really deserves the credit there in the fourth quarter to get us going. She did a great job.”
Chalfant also praised the leadership of senior Jordyn Turner, who had a big 3-pointer early in the game that got the Monroe gymnasium fired up.
“I think she really led — vocally — tonight for us,” Chalfant said. “Jordyn’s kind of a quiet girl but she’s in the locker room coaching us up and telling everybody what the gameplan was.”
Monroe will host Lake Stevens on Thursday in a loser-out district game. Chalfant said that he believes Monroe will be able to recover from the loss in time for the Vikings, who the Bearcats have already beat by double-digits twice this season.
“No matter what stay positive, that’s our motto,” Chalfant said. “Stay positive no matter the situation. I told the girls we play Lake Stevens and we’ve beat them twice this year but it’s the playoffs. You never know. It’s hard to beat a team three times. But we want to go out and have no regrets, especially going out in a do-or-die situation.”
At Monroe H.S.
Edmonds-Woodway 10 13 13 9 — 45
Monroe 5 12 8 10 — 35
Edmonds-Woodway–Kate Wooley 6, Mady Burdett 2, Sidney Eck 12, Maddy Nealey 2, Moni Jackson 11, Lea Bakken 2, Missy Peterson 10. Monroe–Kylee Ferreira 6, Jordyn Turner 3, Emily Donnelly 0, Hannah Drivstuen 0, Alex Alexander 2, Deidra Miller 4, Chelsea Santjer 2, Jadynn Alexander 2, Amber Van Brunt 12, Loryn Moore 44. 3-point goals–Jackson 1, Peterson 1, Turner 1. Records–Edmonds-Woodway 14-7 overall. Monroe 11-10.