By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
EVERETT — Missing five varsity players due to suspension, the Everett girls basketball wilted in the second half as Shorewood’s Masha Shtikel hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with 32 points in a 59-49 win by the visiting Thunderbirds Friday night.
Ahead 26-25 at halftime, Everett, which played just six players throughout the game, was outscored 18-8 in the third quarter and couldn’t close the gap in the fourth quarter.
“I thought our girls came out and played hard,” said Everett head coach John Low. “We had some girls in new positions for the first time and I thought all things considered they rose to the challenge. I was pleased with our effort.”
Five Everett players were suspended by the school after an investigation found that they had participated in a party over the holiday break that involved alcohol and drugs. Due to student privacy the school did not name the players or number of players suspended.
Early on Everett put aside the emotion of the night and got down to business. Led by Kiki Harper and Darian Rielly, the Seagulls jumped out toa 9-4 lead and fought off Shorewood’s challenges to remain in the lead by the half. Sydney Taggart scored all seven of her points in the first half.
“I didn’t sense an overly emotional vibe but I’m sure there was little bit of that,” Low said of his team’s fast start. “There was also a lot of nervousness and wondering how it was going to play out. But yeah they came out and we hit some tough shots.”
In the second half it was a different story. Led by eight points from Shtikel, Shorewood outscored Everett 14-0 at one point in the third quarter and took a commanding 15-point lead. In the fourth, Shtikel continued her domination, hitting three 3s and scoring 10 points as the Thunderbirds helf off a late Everett charge spearheaded by three 3-pointers by Rielly. Shtikel ended up with 20 points in the second half and was 12-for-17 from the free-throw line for the game.
“She’s capable of just moving a little bit back and a little bit back and I think she heated up,” Low said. “She’s improved on her passing … she’s trying to generate more offense for her teammates and then take over when she needs to.”
As for the suspsensions, Everett Public Schools spokesperson Mary Waggoner said the investigation determined that “approximately a dozen” girls and boys basketball players were present at the party, which broke the Everett Public School’s Code of Conduct. The EPS Code of Conduct states that players not only cannot be under the influence of illegal substances but they “shall not be in the presence of, or remain in the vicitny of, others illegally using alcohol or illegal drugs.”
According to the Everett Public Schools’ Code of Conduct, in compliance with the Washington Interscholastic Athletics Association, a first violation involving drugs results in immediate ineligibility for interscholastic competition in the current sports program for the remainder of the season. A first violation involving alcohol results in immediate suspension for 42 calendar days or the remainder of the season, whichever is longer.
At Everett H.S.
Shorewood—Masha Shtikel 32, Trisha Fernandez 0, Lauren Thompson 5, Gabby Hager 6, Salyna McDonald 2, Mariah Schultz 0, Lily Gustafson 10, Abby Gustafson 4, Karrin Leazer 0. Everett—Kiki Harper 16, Bailey McMullen 2, Sydney Taggart 7, Darian Rielly 21, Caroline Overstreet 3, Katy Hedington 0. 3-point goals—Rielly 3, Shtikel 3, Hagar 2, Thompson 1. Records—Shorewood 4-1 league, 9-3 overall. Everett 3-2, 7-4.