By David Krueger For The Weekly Herald
Lake Stevens rolled through the Wesco North and, in its first conference game against the Wesco South, it decided to continue that trend.
The undefeated Vikings jumped out early and led the whole way, defeating Edmonds-Woodway 74-51 Jan. 3 at Edmonds-Woodway High School.
“Lake Stevens is very well-coached,” said Edmonds-Woodway head coach Duane Hodges. “They execute their stuff really well and they have great athletes.”
The Vikings (6-0 league, 11-0 overall) came out firing from the get-go, amassing a 40-26 lead by halftime. Lake Stevens shot well, and its zone defense forced the Warriors to pass the ball out of bounds on numerous occasions.
Katie Goddard (14 points) and Brittney Pahukoa (15 points) had nine points apiece in the first half for Lake Stevens, all coming from behind the 3-point arc.
“We had a lot of transition opportunities,” Lake Stevens head coach Randall Edens said. “There were early turnovers from Edmonds-Woodway that we were able to use to get us going.”
In the third quarter the Warriors attempted their comeback. Sidney Eck scored seven points and Samone Jackson added five as E-W closed the quarter on an 18-5 run to get to within six points, 53-47.
But that’s the closest the Warriors would get.
Lake Stevens opened the quarter with eight straight points by Brooke Pahukoa, including one basket that came on a pass from Abby Molstre that Pahukoa jumped in the air to grab and immediately put into the hoop. The Vikings bench – as well as the Lake Stevens fans in attendance – all erupted in cheers after the shot.
The play was exactly how Edens designed it. “We drew that up at the timeout,” he said of Pahukoa’s back-door cut. “I don’t know about the alley-oop, but it’s a fun play to watch.”
Brooke Pahukoa finished the game with a game-high 21 points for the Vikings and added three rebounds.
“Her ability to be able to get to the rim is huge,” said Edens. “She’s the one person that can create her own shot.”
“Brooke is just an amazing athlete,” Hodges said.
The 21-4 Lake Stevens fourth quarter neutralized the E-W comeback effort.
“The first few possessions were key to get that separation. Then we got stops,” Edens said.
The Warriors (2-3, 6-5) didn’t score in the quarter until a Madeline Kasper basket with 3:26 left to play. By that point the score was 68-49 and the contest was all but decided.
Sidney Eck led the Warriors’ effort posting a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Half of her points came in the first quarter.
Kasper, the Edmonds-Woodway point guard and only senior on the team, scored nine points – including all four Warriors’ points in the final quarter. Her ability to lead the offense and spread the court left quite an impression on Edens.
“Madeline does a great job of running their offense,” he said. “They’re dangerous. They have the ability to shoot threes and spread the floor.”
The Warriors tried to prepare for the Vikings quick attack in practice, but Hodges admitted “you can’t simulate that kind of speed.” His team is very young, featuring three freshman, three sophomores, two juniors and Kasper.
“Our freshman (Natalie Kasper, Claire Fyfe and Jackson) are being exposed to some high-quality varsity athletes,” Hodges said. “The biggest difference between junior high or JV is the speed of the game. You’ve got to make decisions a little quicker.”
Even with the loss Hodges pointed out the positives of the game: “We outrebounded them and we played a nice third quarter.”
After going 5-0 against Wesco North opponents, the Vikings now face the five-team South division hoping to duplicate the results. However, Lake Stevens isn’t looking ahead too far into the future.
“We’re just starting the South games,” Edens said. “It’s really just one game at a time. That’s a cliche, but we have a lot of games in front of us.”