By Jon Saperstein Herald Writer
EDMONDS — Earlier in the week the Edmonds-Woodway girls basketball team had its heart broken in a nonleague game at Mountlake Terrace after the Warriors led the Hawks by 20 points in the fourth quarter only to lose by one.
Friday night it was the Warriors that would break hearts.
Facing a strong rival in Jackson — and a 22-point halftime deficit — Edmonds-Woodway stormed back with 52 second-half points to overwhelm the Timberwolves in a 78-71 victory that was a stunner for both sides.
“I think some of the fans were staring to give up,” Warriors senior Sidney Eck said. “You’d turn around and they looked a little down, but we went into the locker room and all of us came together and cheered and said, ‘We’re doing this. We’re going out and we’re going to win this.’ “
Trailing 48-26 at the break, junior Natalie Kasper, who finished with 20 points, came out and hit her first 3-pointer of the game on the Warriors’ first possesion. Then Eck put the offense on her back.
After struggling with perimeter shooting, the Warriors fed the 6-foot post and Jackson couldn’t contain her. Eck scored nine of her team-high 21 points in the first four minutes of the second half as the Warriors trimmed the lead to 53-40.
When Jackson collapsed on Eck, freshman Missy Peterson had the biggest half of her young career. After being held scoreless in the first half, Peterson hit free throws, inside shots, a reverse layin and a 3-pointer to keep the Warriors’ momentum going. Jackson could never stem the deluge.
Warrior coach Rebekah Wells said that Peterson’s play — in her first start — really fed the team.
“They get a long so well that when someone gets energy, they support each other,” Wells said. “It’s that group dynamic. It’s that team effort and the family that they call themselves.
“(Peterson is) so versatile that when she gets going, she does well.”
After opening with a big win over Bellarmine Prep, Jackson carried that momentum into the first half and dazed the Warriors. With the seconds ticking down until the halftime buzzer, Jackson’s Kelli Kingma dribbled, pulled up and shot a deep 3-pointer that hit the bottom of the net. A smile came across the Jackson senior’s face as she went to the locker room.
At halftime Kingma tallied 27 points and six 3s, hitting them open and off the dribble. At the end of the game she finished with 29 points, with her only points of the second half coming on a jumper off a rebound. The University of Washington-bound senior was kept in check after the Warriors switched to a box-and-1 defense that is a hybrid zone with one player assigned to Kingma.
The irony is, the box-and-1 defense didn’t work against Terrace in the Warriors’ collapse. But E-W point guard Moni Jackson was up to the task Friday.
“I was a little hesitant. That’s why I only did it out of halftime,” Wells said. “I said, ‘This is how we fix it,’ and Moni Jackson did a great job on (Kingma).”
Jackson likes to play uptempo, which helped the Timberwolves build the early edge. But first-year Jackson coach Mark Haner felt that trying to keep up with the pace of the Warriors in the fateful third quarter only fueled the home team. Haner said he regretted not being more patient with the team’s offensive response.
“They made some great adjustments at halftime,” Haner said. “We hit the panic button a little bit.”
With Jackson leading 64-63, Kasper went on a personal 9-0 run over a three-minute stretch in the middle of the fourh quarter that would give the Warriors all the points they’d need.
Eck really believed the loss to Terrace showed the team that it could be done.
“I think that really helped us,” she said. “Knowing that we can be that team that can come back. I think we kind of needed that in a way just to have that game under us.”
With top-ranked Lynnwood also in the Wesco 4A South, Friday night’s game perhaps shows that this league could be as good as any in the state.
“It’s tough,” Wells said. “There are so many good teams.”
At Edmonds-Woodway H.S.
Jackson 22 26 16 7 — 71
Edmonds-Woodway 12 24 29 23 — 78
Jackson—Lopez-Flores 4, Nearing 0, Anderson 22, Kingma 29, Clinton 10, Kipp 0, Johnson 4, Mason 0, Locknane 0, Jackson, Boyd 2. Edmonds-Woodway—Wooley 0, Browning 0, Burden 10, Eck 21, Kasper 20, Nealey 0, Fyfe 0, Jones 6, Jackson 9, Bakken 0, Lebesis 0, Peterson 11. 3-point goals—Kingma 6, Anderson 4, Kasper 2, Burdett 2, Peterson 1, Jackson 1. Records—Jackson 0-1 league, 1-1 overall. Edmonds-Woodway 1-0, 3-1.
In today’s world of short memories, superlatives, and lack of historical context, I hesitate to say this but: Best.Comeback.Ever* #Warriors
— Jon Saperstein (@jonsap) December 14, 2013
S/O to the best team I’ve ever played on! Down by 20 and we come back with a win! I love you guys, way to finish what we started!
— ⚾Samone Jackson (@smoni_21) December 14, 2013