This basketball season The Herald decided to do something new, introducing power polls each week that rank the top 15 teams in both boys and girls in our area regardless of classification.
So far this season, I have struggled to determine who I truly believe is No. 1 on the boys side. I keep going back-and-forth between Jackson and Mountlake Terrace and if pressured to, I feel I could make quite the argument for both.
Friday night the Lynnwood girls basketball team cleared up any of the same confusion that I had on the girls side of things.
The Royals scored a message sending 60-35 victory over the Jackson Timberwolves. The message wasn’t just sent to Jackson, but to the rest of the league and perhaps even the state.
The Royals are clearly the best girls team I have seen this season and they do it by truly living up to the word “team.” They have complete balance on offense and don’t seem to care at all who gets the points. But even more impressive is their defense, which could be best described as suffocating. Lynnwood was all over Jackson defensively for 32 minutes on Friday, holding Jackson’s top three scorers to a combined 19 points.
The defense is relentless and the girls are obviously in great shape because they never get tired. They are simply pedal-to-the-metal for the whole game. Lynnwood lacks size, which seemingly would effect them negatively around state tournament time when they are overmatched in the middle. But I think the Royals quick, athletic lineup poses even more of a challenge for their opponents. After all, those teams won’t be able to get the ball to their bigger posts if they can’t even get the ball up the court.
The Royals are led by junior Jasmin Edwards, who is the spark plug of the team. She is the point guard on offense and does a great job of managing the game. But her biggest contribution is as the leader of the defensive unit. Edwards has the ability to frustrate any guard she goes up against and when she gets a steal, no one on the other team is going to catch her. She is just that fast.
The x-factor for the Royals are their two freshmen, Edwards younger sister Jordyn and Mikayla Pivec. Both players led the Royals on Friday with 12 points apiece. Pivec chipped in 13 rebounds and five blocks.
Lynnwood proved to me on Friday that they aren’t just the favorite in the Wesco South. This is a team that can get to — and make noise at — the Tacoma Dome.
As for Jackson, this is the second time I have seen them this season and I’m beginning to think I’m bad luck for the Timberwolves. They have lost by more than 20 both time. The good news for Jackson, Lynnwood at No. 1 ranked Mount Rainier are both really good. Jackson isn’t a bad team itself. The Timberwolves have plenty of players that returned from the fourth place team at state a year ago. They just appear to be searching for their identity at the moment.
A positive for the Timberwolves as they look to get on the right track, Lynnwood and Mount Rainier have provided the benchmark. The Timberwolves should know exactly the level they need to get to if they too are going to become a team that can make it to the Tacoma Dome.