By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
TACOMA — They fell short of achieving their ultimate goal of a state basketball championship this season, but the Lynnwood Royals still made history on Saturday.
A day after losing a hard-fought semifinal game to Gonzaga Prep, Lynnwood rebounded to beat Moses Lake 48-38 in the 4A girls state tournament and earn a third-place trophy, the best finish for a girls basketball team in the school’s history.
“We have made history in the sense that this is the best girls basketball team Lynnwood has produced,” Royals head coach Everett Edwards said. “I’m am so proud of our team. We did want to win it all, we had hoped for it. But things didn’t go that way and it was a good life experience for our girls to face adversity and heartbreak yesterday and to have to come through and play today and get a win.”
The victory was extra special for Edwards, who watched as his oldest daughter, senior Jasmin Edwards, hoisted the trophy alongside fellow seniors Grace Douglas and Hannah Valavala after the game.
“We’ve had a lot of challenges at Lynnwood and this senior group really was the one that changed the culture for girls basketball here,” coach Edwards said of the trio.
Jasmin Edwards was instrumental in the team’s victory. Despite nursing a sore wrist from an injury she suffered the night before, the point guard scored 18 points and hit a key 3-point shot that tied the score late in third quarter. She also had three steals to spearhead the Royals’ defense in her final basketball game in a Lynnwood jersey.
“We’ve come up so short, but just to end this season on a win, just makes it such a better moment because the last three we’ve ended on a loss,” Jasmin Edwards said. “Just being with this team and making it to state and getting third — which is still a great spot to get — it’s really good.”
The usually up-tempo, offensive-minded Royals had to change their style a bit to beat Moses Lake. Stuck in a grind-it-out defensive battle, the Royals clamped down on defense in the second half to overcome a 34-28 deficit midway through the third quarter.
“(Moses Lake) packed in the key really tight,” Everett Edwards said. “I think we had 10 points after the first quarter and that’s not our style of play. We can play up-tempo where we score 70 points or we can win games when it’s down in the 30- to 40-point range. Usually our defense keeps us in it.”
Trailing by six with 3:49 to play in the third quarter, Edwards called a timeout and switched up his defense to focus on Moses Lake stars Jessie Loera and McKenna Walker, who combined to score 22 points. The adjustment worked. Lynnwood held the Chiefs scoreless for the rest of the quarter and surrendered just four points the rest of the way. The Royals outscored Moses Lake 20-4 from that point to win the game.
“We mixed in a little triangle-and-two and diamond-and-one (zone defenses),” Edwards said of the defensive adjustment. “(Loera) and (Walker) were good players and it was a situation where we wanted to take them away and make other players beat us. It almost seemed like that rattled them a little bit. It seemed like they were shooting their shots from a little bit further out and that allowed us to get out in transition and make some plays.”
After the timeout, Dani Hayes made a 3-pointer from the left corner and Edwards added another after a steal by Hayes to tie the score at 34. After an Edwards’ steal, Mikayla Pivec grabbed two offensive rebounds and was fouled while trying to put-back the second. She made one of two free throws to give Lynnwood its first lead since the first quarter.
The Royals built that lead to eights with 2:35 to play in the game when Jasmin Edwards made a driving layin as the shot clock buzzer sounded. With its offense finally in gear, Lynnwood’s defense continued its domination, holding Moses Lake to just four points in the quarter to secure the victory.
“I think we just made it clear that this is going to be our last time playing together, our last half, our last quarter,” Jasmin Edwards said. “We all kind of stepped up and made the adjustments we had to. We just didn’t let them get the shots that they did previously. We just kind of toughened up, I guess.”
Although the Royals will be losing starters Jasmin Edwards and Douglas to graduation, the future is bright for the Lynnwood girls basketball team. It returns guard Jordyn Edwards and posts Mikayla Pivec, Monty Cooper and Kelsey Rogers next year. Pivec finished Saturday’s game with 15 points and 19 rebounds.At Tacoma Dome
Lynnwood 10 10 17 11 — 48
Moses Lake 8 14 12 4 — 38
Lynnwood—Jasmin Edwards 18, Monty Cooper 2, Grace Douglas 3, Mikayla Pivec 15, Kelsey Rogers 5, Jordyn Edwards 0, Amina Donahoe 0, Dani Hayes 5, Madison Eyer 0, Sarah Grant 0, Chelsea Tuiasasopo-Campbell 0, Hannah Valavala 0. Moses Lake—Alysha Overland 1, Madison Tudor 0, Santana Anderson 0, Stephanie Overland 2, Hailee Bishop 0, Jessie Loera 10, McKenna Walker 12, Selina Koon 0, Emily Olson 5, Avery Clark 4, Carina Lefave 0, Kaitlyn Stevens 4. 3-point goals—Jasmin Edwards, Douglas, Hayes, Loera 2, Walker, Olson. Records—Lynnwood 24-2 overall.