By David Pan Weekly Herald sports editor
The Lynnwood girls basketball team got a sneak peak this summer of what the upcoming season is going to be like.
The Royals are moving up a classification to 4A and had the opportunity to face such teams as district rival Edmonds-Woodway, Snohomish, Lake Stevens and Kamiak.
It looks like Lynnwood is going to do just fine. The Royals took first place in the Edmonds School District and the King’s Schools tournaments and advanced to the semifinals in the Washington Prep League tournament.
“It was a great test for us,” Lynnwood coach Everett Edwards said of going up against 4A teams.
The Royals beat Lake Stevens in the Edmonds District title game and knocked off Seattle Prep in the King’s tournament finals. Lynnwood lost to Arlington in the Washington Preps League tournament semifinals.
The Royals will be fielding a small lineup this season with the tallest player being 5-foot-10. Lynnwood was able to deal with taller teams by running traps, pressing and generally playing at a fast pace.
“We’ve been able to find out that our effort on the defensive end is paying off,” Edwards said. “A lot of teams, a lot of the bigger teams had a hard time keeping up with the fast pace.”
It’s likely that Edwards will start a lineup that some might consider to be a little unorthodox. The lone player with any height, senior center Linda Wilson (5-10) could be joined by four players who might range in height from 5-5 to 5-7.
“We could very easily have four or five small kids out there at the same time,” Edwards said. “We just really don’t have a lot of bigger kids at Lynnwood. We’ll be playing small ball.”
Edwards attributes his team’s victories over taller squads such as Lake Stevens and Snohomish to the Royals’ aggressive defense.
“They can’t deal with our full-court press and half-court traps,” Edwards said. “That’s kind of our equalizer. We hope to be a little bit faster.”
The two major losses for the Royals were starting center Meghan Cross and point guard Casey Evans. Wilson will slide into Cross’ role and Jasmin Edwards, the coach’s daughter, is the player with the most experience at point guard.
“We’re going to share the duties,” coach Edwards said. “We play a style, in my opinion, where we don’t have one true point guard.”
Senior Arsenia Ivanov, the team’s top 3-point shooter, along with senior Izzy Maza, can handle the ball. Junior Grace Douglas also is a player who can direct the offense, and sophomore Danielle Hayes has shown significant improvement.
Edwards also noted that two incoming freshmen possess strong ball-handling skills.
“We’re going to have a lot of girls dribbling the ball,” he predicted. “We don’t have a huge senior class. We have a good balance in each class. That’s helping us out a little bit.”
There’s no secret as to what the Royals need to do to rebound the ball.
“We don’t have any big bodies so we have to box out,” Edwards said. “We have to work hard. We can rebound.”
If Edwards had any questions heading into June, he found most of the answers.
“The goal for June was to play good basketball and to see if we could win one of the three tournaments or the league we were playing in,” Edwards said. “We played very well. Our team is very small in height but we’re very fast and we had very good 3-point shooters. We were shooting the ball extremely well from the 3-point line. Better than that we were playing very unselfishly. We were giving up a good shot in order to get a great shot.
“That’s a great sign of team chemistry and great step forward for our program.”