By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
EVERETT — The Everett and Stanwood girls basketball teams were in a tight, back-and-forth battle at the outset, with the host Seagulls clinging to a 10-9 lead through the first four minutes.
And that’s when Everett’s Sidney Rielly took charge.
During the next six minutes, the 6-foot senior tossed in 12 straight points to turn that 10-9 lead into a 22-9 margin and it was a lead the Seagulls never lost.
Rielly, who will play next season at the University of Santa Clara, finished with a game-high 28 points and Everett came away with a 66-50 Western Conference 3A North victory on Friday night over the visiting Spartans at Everett Community College.
The victory lifts the Seagulls into first place in the league standings at 3-0, while Stanwood slipped to 2-1.
For Rielly, the game started with two missed layins. But from that point on she missed very little, converting two 3-pointers in as many attempts and going 13-for-15 overall after those two early misses. She scored 22 of her points in the first half.
“Sidney did a great job with the attention because every team comes in knowing they have to stop (her),” said Everett coach John Low. “She did a great job of not forcing things and taking good shots when they were there, and then hitting them.”
Stanwood did a better job of defending Rielly in the second half, holding her to just six points in the last two quarters, but that gave other Seagulls the chance to step up. Giving Everett a big lift off the bench was guard Tenika Wentworth, who had 12 of her 14 points after halftime.
“Tenika would be good at any sport she played,” Low said. “She’s just a good all-around athlete and that showed tonight. She got her hands on a lot of balls defensively and kind of gave us a rebounding punch. … She’s not used to scoring, so we’re trying to get her into more of an offensive mode Because she can put the ball on the floor and get to the basket.”
Overall, he added, “I think this was our best game from start to finish for all nine players against a good team. Honestly, sometimes they surprise me and in a good way. … We have girls that are starting to understand their roles and they’re playing well.”
Everett is undefeated this season except for a three-day, three-game holiday tournament at Snohomish, where the Seagulls went a shocking 0-3. And against Stanwood, which won the Wesco 3A North a year ago, “this was definitely a game on our calendar,” Low said.
“Our goal is to win the North, and that’s what Stanwood did last year. We knew we’d have to play well and take it from them because they weren’t going to hand it to us. So this was an important game for us in the standings and for putting us where we want to be.”
The Spartans, meanwhile, seemed staggered by Rielly’s first-half outburst and went 6½ minutes without scoring. But they gathered themselves and whittled the deficit down to seven points at halftime, and then pulled within 38-33 three minutes into the third quarter.
From there the game swung back to Everett. The Seagulls led by nine late in the period, and then used a run of 10 straight points to break the game open early in the fourth quarter.
“We play hard but we don’t always play intelligently,” said Stanwood coach Dennis Kloke. After pulling within five points in the third period, “there were four straight possessions where we didn’t run anything. … We have to play a little bit smarter.”
The Spartans were led by guard Haley Strowbridge, who had 13 points, including three 3-pointers.
At Everett Community College
Stanwood 9 19 10 12 — 50
Everett 18 17 13 18 — 66
Stanwood—Sierra Palmer 5, Julia Heichel 9, Samantha Powell 8, Haley Strowbridge 13, Jillian Jacobs 8, Janea Taylor 7, Kylie Wright 0, Ashley Bierer 0. Everett—Megan Dedrick 0, Caroline Overstreet 1, Sydney Taggart 5, Darian Rielly 6, Sidney Rielly 28, Tenika Wentworth 14, Julie Ramirez 4, Amber Hagar 2, Katy Hedington 6. 3-point goals—Haley Strowbridge 3, Jillian Jacobs 2, Darian Rielly 2, Sidney Reilly 2, Tenika Wentworth 1. Records—Stanwood is 2-1 in league, 6-3 overall. Everett is 3-0, 7-3.