MARYSVILLE — The Everett girls basketball team is back at full strength, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Three Everett players — who were suspended earlier in the season for breaking the school’s code of conduct — returned as the Seagulls closed out their regular season with a 60-52 Wesco 3A North victory over Marysville Pilchuck.
“I felt good for the girls being back,” said Everett head coach John Low. “Happy that they got the opportunity to go out and play. We could get back to what we wanted to do and go into the postseason with a win.”
The players on the Everett girls’ team were suspended during the first week of January for violating the Everett Public School’s Code of Conduct, which restricted them from athletic competitions for 42 calendar days.
Low, who gets another athlete back next week due to some issues with paperwork, said it was good to have the players back because it gave significant depth to the Seagulls’ bench.
“We were deeper and we could do more,” Low said. “It was easier to play pressure defense and run the floor than when we were playing with seven girls. ? I told the girls to keep going like you were without the (suspended) girls.”
Everett got off to a bit of a slow start, and trailed Marysville Pilchuck 22-18 at halftime. But the Seagulls’ offense flourished in the third quarter, outscoring the Tomahawks 26-11.
Low said he spent halftime trying to calm his players down, and get them to get back to their style of play: aggressive defense.
“We just talked about the jitters,” Low said. “I said, ‘Let’s just go out and play how we’re going to play.’”
Everett guard Sidney Rielly had 18 of her 19 points in the Seagulls’ third-quarter run. Two and a half minutes into the quarter, Rielly tied the score at 25 with a layup. Less than 25 seconds later, her 3-pointer gave the Seagulls their first lead since the first quarter.
“She’s a dynamic scorer. She’s one of the top scorers in Wesco,” Low said. “Whenever she starts (shooting well) from the outside she’s hard to stop.”
Kiki Harper also had a strong showing for Everett (6-7 league, 10-10 overall). The senior guard notched a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, leaving a strong impression on Marysville Pilchuck head coach Julie Martin.
“Kiki works so hard,” Martin said. “I love to watch her scrap and hustle. She’s super fun to watch, but not much fun to coach against.”
Both Everett and Marysville Pilchuck (4-9, 6-13) already had clinched berths in next week’s 3A district tournament. The Seagulls — who are looking for their first victory in the district tournament in two years — are the No. 3 team from the North after Wesco champion Stanwood and Ferndale from the 1A/2A/3A Northwest conference. They will go up against the South No. 2 seed (either Shorewood or Meadowdale).
As the North’s fourth seed, the Tomahawks will play South champion Glacier Peak.
“I’m really excited about what my girls are going to bring for districts,” Martin said. “I’m pretty excited for Tuesday. We just have to flush this.”
Three juniors led Marysville Pilchuck in its final game of the regular season. Jordan Bengen had a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, Jenika Anglim scored 16 points, grabbed six rebounds and had three steals and Charlee Pilon added 13 points and five rebounds.
“Jordan didn’t get a lot of bench time, she was on the floor a lot,” Martin said. “She went out and scrapped. Charlee hit some clutch shots. We had lots of girls contribute.”
Martin was involved in a big point in the game when she was whistled for a technical foul — the second one she remembers in her career — in the third quarter. The Marysville Pilchuck bench had received a prior warning from the referees that Martin had not heard, and then when a Tomahawk player was whistled for travelling someone on the bench questioned the call a bit too loudly and the Marysville Pilchuck bench was issued a technical foul.
The Tomahawks’ coach was as confused as anyone after the call and after the game was still trying to figure out what happened, while going out of her way to compliment high school referees.
“I just yell at my girls and try to encourage them,” Martin said. “I don’t know if (the referees) think I’m yelling at them. I don’t want to put the referees down at all. They do a great job.”
The play resulted in two free throws for Everett — which Rielly made — as well as possession of the ball, which resulted in a Rielly layup as the Seagulls began to pull away.
At Marysville Pilchuck H.S.
Everett 14 4 26 16 — 60
Marysville Pilchuck 15 7 11 19 — 52
Everett–Kiki Harper 13, Bailey McMullen 1, Sydney Taggart 6, Darian Rielly 10, Sidney Rielly 19, Madison Rutledge 2, Caroline Overstreet 3, Rosie Sittauer 2, Amber Hagar 3, Julie Ramirez 0, Katy Hedington 1. Marysville Pilchuck–Taylor Bergley 0, Charlee Pilon 13, Kayla Tocco 0, Abi Otto 0, Jenika Anglim 16, Jordan Bengen 18, Marley Reynolds 0, Binta Bojang 0, Kylie Lopez 5. 3-point goals–D. Rielly 2, S. Rielly 2, Overstreet 1, Pilon 3, Anglim 2, Bengen 1. Records–Everett 6-7 league, 10-10 overall. Marysville Pilchuck 4-9, 6-13.