By David Krueger Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — Down two players and competing in its third game of the week the Snohomish girls basketball team needed a lift.
It found it in Madeline Smith.
The sophomore post had 16 points and 22 rebounds as the Panthers rebounded from a pair of close losses with a 43-33 Wesco 4A North win over Monroe Friday night at Snohomish High School.
“That was just a phenomenal effort by her,” Snohomish head coach Ken Roberts said of Smith. “I took her out the last 40 seconds of the first quarter and put her back in with 20 to go and that’s the only rest she’s had in three days. That’s pretty impressive.”
Snohomish, which lost by two points to Jackson on Tuesday and by four to Kamiak Thursday night, was also dealing with the loss of two key contributors in Callie Harwood and Madison Pollock. Their absences meant other Panthers, such as Smith and Hannah Berntson, were forced to step up to help Snohomish finish victorious.
“I wasn’t sure we’d have the legs to come back today and really play as hard as we did,” Roberts said. “That shows something about our kids’ character. … That was a big win for us. That was a nice one to get.”
Both teams struggled offensively, especially in the early part of the game where Snohomish built an 18-14 halftime lead. The Panthers outscored Monroe 8-7 in the third quarter before the offenses finally came around in the final period. Snohomish outscored the Bearcats 17-12 in the fourth to pull away as the game came to a close.
Smith, who also plays volleyball for Snohomish, was all over the floor grabbing rebounds and putting up shots. She also had four blocks and five assists.
“She kind of got off to a slow start. She played a really intense volleyball schedule, came into basketball and got sick right away, but played a lot,” Roberts said. “It’s been neat to see her, this week, have two really strong games. She’s really put together a good week and we feel like she’s starting to get where we need to be.”
Bernston also had a strong game for the Panthers with 11 points and five rebounds. The senior guard, who runs cross country in the fall, needed all of her energy to guard against Jackson, Kamiak and the Monroe ball-handlers.
“(Thursday) she played her tail off and then (Friday) she came out and had a really good offensive game,” Roberts said. “She made some good eight-to-10-foot shots and her defense is incredible. Three days in a row of running around like crazy. Thank goodness she’s a cross country runner and went to state. Some kids don’t have the character to be able to work that hard and work through fatigue. She’s somebody that always brings it on that end.”
Berntson and Smith helped offset the losses of Harwood and Pollock. Harwood partially tore her posterior cruciate ligament in Snohomish’s game against Arlington on Jan. 2 and Pollock had her tonsils removed on Jan. 7.
Roberts hopes to have Harwood back in mid-February for the district tournament and Pollock back as soon as possible.
“It had to be done,” Roberts said of Pollock’s operation. “She couldn’t breathe. It was like two basketballs in her throat. It’s just tough that Callie got hurt when that was scheduled. It was a credit to our other girls how hard they played with them out tonight.”
Monroe was also dealing with the loss of a key player. Deidra Miller, the Bearcats leading scorer, missed her third game of the week with an illness. In Miller’s absence Monroe went 2-1.
Bearcats’ head coach Matt Chalfant is eagerly awaiting the return of his senior post.
“She’s had an illness. It was pretty bad. She was out all week,” Chalfant said. “She’s starting to feel better. She came back to school today for the first time all week. It was good to have her back on the bench rooting us on. But it’s tough. She’s our motor. She really makes us go.”
Without Miller, the Monroe offense struggled to get going. The Bearcats found a spark in the fourth quarter when freshman Jadynn Alexander scored Monroe’s first eight points of the quarter and helped the Bearcats pull to within three points of Snohomish.
“I said, ‘All right, it’s do or die time,’” Chalfant said. “And Jadynn is a phenomenal athlete. She’s only a freshman and the sky’s the limit for her. We’re really excited. I told Jadynn, ‘We’re going to give you the rock, we’re going to set some screens for you, go to work. And sure enough, she did.”
But Monroe — which played an aggressive, full-court defense that forced several Snohomish turnovers — couldn’t get any closer than that and the Panthers put it away thanks in large part to Smith, who made five free throws and finished with seven points in the final quarter.
“(The Bearcats) always make you earn everything you get,” Roberts said. “They’re very athletic. They compete like crazy. I think we’re similar teams in a lot of ways in that both of us, at times, are a little bit challenged to score but we play like crazy on defense and work hard on defense which is really what wins you more games down the road.”
At Snohomish H.S.
Monroe–Kylee Ferreira 5, Corrina Roppo 0, Jordyn Turner 0, Emily Donnelly 0, Hannah Drivstuen 1, Alex Alexander 2, Chelsea Santjer 6, Jadynn Alexander 10, Amber Van Brunt 9, Loryn Moore 0. Snohomish–Katie Brandvold 2, Hannah Berntson 11, Shaylee Harwood 6, Shawna Krueger 0, Madeline Smith 16, Bernadette Beeman 0, Bailey Armbruster 4, Ellie Flitsch 2, Tara Harms-Bush 2. 3-point goals–none. Records–Monroe 4-2 league, 7-5 overall. Snohomish 3-3, 5-7.