EDMONDS — Snohomish girls basketball coach Ken Roberts found out a little something about the toughness of his team on Monday.
Missing two of the team’s top players, senior Callie Harwood and sophomore Madison Pollock, the Panthers traveled to Edmonds-Woodway and came away with a 44-36 victory.
“It’s a real good win for us,” Roberts said. “Coming in it’s like, ‘let’s execute and let’s do what we need to do and see where it puts us.’ You don’t know that it’s going to put you in a position to get a win at the end of the game.”
The win boosts the Panthers to 4-3 in league and 6-7 overall, while the Warriors drop to 4-3 and 8-4.
Without the scoring that Pollock and Harwood provide, the Panthers turned to sophomore post Madeline Smith, who delivered with her fourth double-double in as many games. Smith finished with 23 points, shooting 9-for-13 from the field, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking two shots.
Smith scored the first 10 points for the Panthers in the final quarter and finished with 11 of the team’s 16 points in fourth quarter.
“Our game plan is to go to her,” Roberts said. “With the kids we have out right now, we’re going to go to her early and we’re going to go to her often. The other kids are going to score off of her touches. That’s what we’ve done real well.”
The Warriors led 10-6 after one quarter and scored the first five points of the second quarter to lead 15-6 before Roberts called a timeout to talk to his team.
“We talked about it in the timeout, ‘look at the points that they have, how many have been from things we’re willing to give up and how many have been from things that we’ve done wrong,’” Roberts said. “Over half their points at that time were from our mistakes, they made good shots, but they were not executing. I thought after that timeout we really did a good job of executing on both sides of the court.”
Snohomish also played without sophomore forward Ellie Flitsch, who Roberts didn’t learn would be unable to play until just hours before tip off. The Panthers turned to freshman Jess Layton, who is listed as a member of the C-Team on the team’s roster and saw her first minutes on junior varsity just last week, to fill the void. Layton had played the first quarter with the C-Team on Monday before Roberts informed the team’s coach she was needed on varsity.
“We run the same things at the different levels,” Roberts said. “They don’t have as much in as we do, but she was able to come in and do what we needed to do.”
In her first ever varsity minutes, Layton didn’t disappoint. She scored four points in the second quarter. Her first basket tied the game at 15 and her second gave the Panthers a 19-15 lead going into halftime.
“We needed a post that could fill in as a power forward and she fit what we needed tonight, so we brought her up,” Roberts said. “I think it’s good for every kid in our program to see that if you work hard at any level and you do what we ask you than you have a chance.”
Just as important as Smith points and Layton’s unexpected contribution was the defense of the Panthers, holding the Warriors to just 36 points. Edmonds-Woodway senior guard Natalie Kasper, one of the more dangerous scorers in Wesco, was held without a point.
Roberts gave most of the credit to senior guard Hannah Berntson, who after lockdown defensive efforts against Monroe’s Jordyn Turner Jackson’s Sierra Anderson has added Kasper to the list.
“Hannah’s done a great job,” Roberts said. “She’s not in all game, so it’s been her mainly, but also Bailey Armbruster, Shaylee Harwood and Katie Brandvold. They’ve really bought into what we’re doing defensively and trying to make it difficult out there.”
The Panthers never trailed in the second half, but game’s final minutes still had drama with the Warriors hanging around and the back-and-forth battle between Smith and Edmonds-Woodway’s Sidney Eck.
Eck scored 22 points, 15 of which came in the second half.
“They both were in a little bit of foul trouble and both coaches wanted to go to them to see if they couldn’t get the other post fouled out,” Roberts said. “Madeline’s our best option offensively, so we’re going to go to her. Their best option tonight was Sidney with what we were doing defensively. They went to her and it was good coaching by them. We were just able to get enough stops and enough makes at the other end to win the game.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Edmonds-Woodway H.S.
Snohomish—Katie Brandvold 2, Hannah Berntson 6, Shaylee Harwood 3, Madeline Smith 23, Bailey Armbruster 6, Tara Harms-Bush 0, Jess Layton 4. Edmonds-Woodway—Kate Wooley 0, Mady Burdett 4, Sidney Eck 22, Natalie Kasper 0, Maddy Nealey 3, Claire Fyfe 0, Moni Jackson 7, Lea Bakken 0, Sydney Peterson 0. 3-point goals—Armbruster 1, Jackson 1. Records—Snohomish 4-3 league, 6-7 overall. Edmonds-Woodway 4-3, 8-4.