By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
TACOMA — After trailing for most of three periods, the Lynnwood girls basketball team made a determined comeback to take the lead on a Jasmin Edwards 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter.
It seemed like the Royals were about to rally themselves right into tonight’s Class 4A state championship game at the Tacoma Dome.
Instead, Lynnwood’s comeback bid sputtered and then stalled in the late minutes, and the Royals ended up losing a 61-56 heartbreaker to Gonzaga Prep in a Friday afternoon semifinal showdown between the top teams in the state’s Class 4A rankings.
The loss drops Lynnwood into an 11:15 a.m. consolation game today. The Royals will take on Moses Lake, a 56-55 loser against Mount Rainier in Friday’s other semifinal, in a game to decide third and fifth places.
After trailing Gonzaga Prep by eight points at halftime and nine midway through the third quarter, “our girls stepped up and made some great plays that got us back in it,” Lynnwood coach Everett Edwards said. “But there were just a few minutes there (late in the game) where things didn’t go our way.
“I’m super proud of my team,” he added. “We fought back in the the second half and we took a one-point lead at some point. But then the wheels kind of fell of the bus a little bit.”
Trailing 46-41 early in the fourth quarter, the Royals got a three-point play from Jordyn Edwards and a 3-point shot from right of the key by sister Jasmin Edwards to go in front 47-46. It was Lynnwood’s first lead since the game’s opening moments.
But the Bullpups responded with five quick points of their own for a 51-47 margin. The teams traded baskets and the Royals then turned the ball over, setting up one of the game’s most pivotal sequences.
On the defensive end, Lynnwood’s Monty Cooper tipped the ball loose, tracked it down and started the other way on the dribble, giving the Royals a chance to close within two points and perhaps one with about 90 seconds to play. But Cooper was sandwiched by two Gonzaga Prep players, the ball was popped free, and the Bullpups regained possession.
Moments later, Gonzaga Prep post Otiona Gildon scored near the basket and was fouled, and her free throw made it 56-49 with 1:21 on the clock.
Lynnwood tried desperately to carve into the deficit by sending the Bullpups to the free throw line in the closing seconds, but could come no closer than the five-point difference at the end.
“I just think Gonzaga Prep did a good job on offense,” Jasmin Edwards said. “They were able to get some baskets to go and we weren’t able to do the same on the other end. … Normally we’re able to go on great runs during a game. We’d go on a short run, but then we just weren’t able to push through and finish those runs and get a good, comfortable lead on them.”
As much as the Royals were undone in the late moments by turnovers and missed shots, they also were on the wrong end of a few head-scratching officials’ calls. One cost Lynnwood the chance at a possible breakaway basket, the other took away an offensive possession.
At Tacoma Dome
Lynnwood 11 13 15 17 — 56
Gonzaga Prep 13 19 10 19 — 61
Gonzaga Prep—Oona Harrington 4, Taylor Drynan 0, Kayla Leland 9, Wendy Gregory 6, Hannah Caudill 6, Laura Stockton 16, Otiona Gildon 18, Lauren Wier 2. Lynnwood—Jasmin Edwards 7, Monty Cooper 7, Grace Douglas 8, Mikayla Pivec 16, Kelsey Rogers 4, Jordyn Edwards 12, Danielle Hayes 2. 3-point goals—Jasmin Edwards, Douglas 2, Leland 3, Caudill 2, Gregory 2. Records—Gonzaga Prep 24-1 overall. Lynnwood 23-2.