STANWOOD — With a 21-point halftime lead, Stanwood appeared to be on its way to a decisive Wesco 3A North girls basketball victory.
In the second half, Everett decided it wanted to make the Spartans sweat a little bit.
The Seagulls cut Stanwood’s lead to six points in the final two minutes, but couldn’t get any closer than that and the Spartans held on to defeat Everett 66-56 Tuesday night in a battle between new Wesco 3A North rivals.
“We just stopped playing defense,” Stanwood head coach Dennis Kloke said. “We scored all those points because of how we played defense. It carried over to the offensive side of the ball. The opposite happened in the second half.”
Everett outscored Stanwood 23-12 in the third quarter, and got to within six points when Rosie Sittauer got a rebound and a putback to make the score 62-56 with 1:34 remaining to play.
But Stanwood was able to close out the game thanks to some made free throws and, once again, stifling defense.
Everett head coach John Low said his team worked so hard to catch up to Stanwood that by the final minutes of the game his players were pretty tired.
“Whenever you get that far behind, it’s hard because you spend so much energy just getting back into it,” Low said.
It was the first conference game in years between the two teams, with Stanwood moving from the Wesco 4A North conference to the 3A North this season. Low believes Stanwood, which advanced to the state regionals round in 4A last season, is going to be a tough new 3A foe.
“I knew they were a strong team and have a good program,” Low said. “We have to battle against them. The road to first place (in Wesco North 3A) kind of goes through Stanwood, in my opinion.”
Stanwood outscored Everett 24-9 in the first quarter and had doubled the Seagulls’ point total with a 42-21 halftime lead. Jillian Jacobs had 14 of her team-high 16 points in the second quarter for Stanwood.
“(Jacobs) missed the first couple (3-point) attempts, but we gave her some good looks and she made a few in a row there,” Low said.
Everett immediately began to chip away at Stanwood’s lead in the second half, opening the third quarter with a 5-0 run. After outscoring the Spartans by 11 in the third, the Seagulls picked up where they left off in the fourth, when Darian Rielly stole a ball from a Stanwood player and ran the length of the floor for a layin.
Rielly was fouled as the shot rolled into the hoop and added another point on a free throw.
“I’ve got to give Everett credit,” Kloke said. “A lot of teams, when they’re down by that much, would just pack it up. They kept fighting.”
Sierra Palmer and Rachel Swartz helped Stanwood (4-0 league, 6-1 overall) remain perfect in its new conference with 11 points apiece. Swartz, who missed the Spartans’ first few games because of an injured foot, added 10 rebounds.
“I think this is probably Swartz’s best game since she’s come back,” Low said.
Kloke credited his depth with helping the Spartans pull out the victory. He was pleased with the play of Lauren Allison — who came into the game and helped direct Stanwood’s offense — and Julia Heichel, who subbed in and found herself with the unenviable task of guarding Everett star guard Sidney Rielly.
“We’ve definitely got some depth,” Kloke said. “Which really helps us. In practice there are some good battles.”
Sidney Rielly had a game-high 17 points for Everett — including the Seagulls’ first five points. She was a strong defensive presence with three blocked shots and also grabbed five rebounds.
Darian Rielly, Sidney’s younger sister, finished with 14 points (10 in the second half). Amber Hagar had 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks and Sittauer grabbed 10 rebounds for Everett (2-1, 5-2).
“Rosie (Sittauer) and Amber Hagar did really well in the post,” Low said. “I really thought in the third quarter everyone really came out and gave us some good minutes and contributed.”
At Stanwood H.S.
Everett–Bailey McMullen 0, Sydney Taggart 4, Darian Rielly 14, Sidney Rielly 17, Tenika Wentworth 6, Rayme Rogge 2, Rosie Sittauer 2, Amber Hagar 11. Stanwood–Sierra Palmer 11, Lauren Allison 6, Julia Heichel 2, Samantha Powell 6, Haley Strowbridge 6, Jillian Jacobs 16, Janea Taylor 4, Rachel Swartz 11, Tristan Murphy 4. 3-point goals–D. Rielly 1, S. Rielly 2, Jacobs 4. Records–Everett 2-1 league, 5-2 overall. Stanwood 4-0, 6-1.