SNOHOMISH — The Snohomish Panthers needed an inspired defensive performance to slow down the Stanwood Spartans’ league-leading scoring offense Wednesday night.
The prospect of such an effort took a major hit during the game’s first possession when 33 seconds in guard Kinslee Gallatin was on the floor in pain clutching her right leg.
“Kinslee, she’s our best perimeter defender,” Panthers coach Ken Roberts said.
But an ominous start paved way for sophomore guard Kaylin Beckman’s and forward Morgan Marshall’s strong play off the bench. Snohomish bigs Kyra Beckman and Courtney Perry dominated the paint, and the Panthers’ defense held the Spartans to their second lowest scoring output this season, earning a 61-39 Wesco 3A home win to stay undefeated in league play.
Stanwood (10-5, 6-2 Wesco 3A) was averaging 70.7 points in Wesco matchups before Wednesday’s contest. The Spartans’ season-low was 34 points. The Panthers (15-2, 9-0) led the league in scoring defense, yielding 24.6 points per game. Something had to give. It was Stanwood’s prolific offense.
“I thought our kids did a good job of executing our game plan,” Roberts said. “We had stretches where we’d shut them down for two or three minutes, but then they’d score six or eight. I thought we did a good job of when they scored making sure we had a good possession offensively to stop the momentum.”
And the Panthers’ offense was cool and calculated all night, running its defensive-crippling formula on auto-pilot. Here’s how it went: get strong post position with Kyra Beckman or Perry, work ball around perimeter, execute entry pass, layup and repeat.
Kyra Beckman and Perry combined for 40 points. Beckman finished with 25, a game-high 12 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. Perry scored 15 points to go with six boards. The duo score 17 of Snohomish’s first 19 points and left Stanwood frustrated and looking for answers.
“I felt like we ran our plays and executed well,” Perry said. “Our guards fed us really good with good passes. If we don’t get good passes from our guards, we don’t score.”
Hurting matters was Stanwood 5-foot-11 forward Kaitlin Larson’s early foul trouble. Larson, who was tabbed with guarding Kyra Beckman, missed the majority of the first half, and Snohomish took advantage.
The Panthers broke an 11-11 tie at the end of the first quarter by outscoring the Spartans 16-6 during the second. The Beckmans, Kyra and Kaylin, accounted for 14 of the team’s 16 points. Kaylin Beckman, who finished with 12 points, ended the first half with six consecutive points to give the Panthers a 27-17 halftime edge.
“Kaylin Beckman stepped up and was huge today,” Roberts said. “She hasn’t been playing as much, but today she just played. It was good to see. She had one heck of a game when Kinslee went out, and that was big for us.”
Stanwood never regained form following the first quarter and trailed by as much as 21 points in the third.
“I told them the only thing I was disappointed in was that we didn’t have effort for 32 minutes,” Stanwood coach Dennis Kloke said. “These girls in their career have played with so much intensity. I didn’t see it tonight.”
Stanwood had practiced everything Snohomish was running offensively, Kloke said, but the Spartans still had no answer for the Panthers’ crisp passing and physicality down low.
Snohomish recorded 16 assists. Maya DuChesne matched Kyra Beckman with six, and Roberts said the ball movement was key to the Panthers’ offensive success.
Snohomish’s largest lead was 22 points. The Panthers led 56-34 with 3:30 to play in the fourth quarter, and even in the second half the Spartans’ offense never found its rhythm.
Ashley Alter scored a team-high 12 points, Madison Chisman had 10 and Larson finished with eight points.
“It was a really big game for us,” Perry said. “We were coming in ready with different defenses, and I think we did really good as a team to get a W. We just had different ideas (defensively) to confuse them more than it confused us.”
“When you play a Snohomish team of that quality,” Kloke said, “every single defensive possession, all five kids have to be playing with intensity.”