Defensive Domination: Meadowdale smothers Lake Stevens

Meadowdale blows out previously unbeaten Lake Stevems 60-24

By AARON COE

Herald Writer

LAKE STEVENS — A couple of weeks ago, the Meadowdale girls basketball team discovered some things needed fixing if it wanted to defend its state title.

If their last two games are any indication, things have improved for the Mavericks since a Dec. 2 blowout loss to Kennewick.

Meadowdale’s stifling defense, which carried it to the Class 3A championship last season, brought about Wednesday’s 60-24 destruction of previously unbeaten Western Conference 3A foe Lake Stevens.

It was the second massacre in a row for the 3-1 Mavericks, who have outscored their last two opponents 141-56. Meadowdale beat Edmonds-Woodway 81-32 five days ago, but remained bitter from the trip to Kennewick, where it lost to the defending Class 4A champions 57-27.

The loss to Kennewick sparked the fire that engulfed Lake Stevens in the first conference game for each team. The Vikings were playing without second-leading scoring Kelly Bay.

"We were embarrassed," said Kristen O’Neill of the trip to Kennewick. "That was a tough loss, but I think it was kind of a wake-up call."

O’Neill hurt the Vikings (0-1 in the conference, 4-1 overall) on both ends of the floor. The University of Washington-bound guard scored 26 points and had six steals. The 6-foot-1 senior, who holds the single-season Meadowdale record for deflections, seemed to get a hand on the ball every time Lake Stevens tried to pass.

"We are known for our defense, and we just wanted to keep the tradition alive," said O’Neill, who also blocked two shots and registered three assists.

The Mavericks stole the ball away 23 times and forced 29 Lake Stevens turnovers. The Vikings often struggled to get the ball to half court, and when they did, it was often taken away by Meadowdale.

O’Neill began the blowout by scoring the game’s first eight points. Without Bay, the Vikings’ best perimeter defender who is expected to miss as much as two weeks with a foot injury, O’Neill often was left open. She scored 10 points in the first quarter as Meadowdale took a 17-5 lead.

Chelsea Holloway, who led Lake Stevens with 11 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots, scored all of the Vikings’ first quarter points.

In addition to O’Neill, the Mavericks got a balanced effort from several contributors. Anne Dawson scored six points and pulled down seven rebounds. Jennie Swerk scored eight points and played solid interior defense. Audrey Hutchison chipped in eight points off the bench.

Anyone who walked onto the Lake Stevens’ gym floor for Meadowdale Wednesday brought defensive intensity with them. Anne Dawson, Jacci Baker, Tara Jacob, Leslie Martin and Alecia Suelzle all had roles in the blowout, as did Anne Martin, who began the season on the junior varsity team.

"When we played at Kennewick, they really took it to us," Meadowdale coach Karen Blair said. "But it was a good learning experience for our kids. We’ve got a lot of young players who have not been in these situations."

Blair said it’s important for the team to not put too much stock in its recent domination. Both Edmonds-Woodway and Lake Stevens, she will remind her players, were missing key players. Blair said she’s not sure yet how good her team is.

"It’s kind of hard to tell," Blair said. "We would have liked to have played both those teams at full strength."

The way the Mavericks played Wednesday night, it seemed only Michael Jordan — in his prime — would have made a difference.


Meadowdale

17

17

13

13

60

Lake Stevens

5

8

3

8

24


Meadowdale—Hutchison 8, Dawson 6, Baker 2, O’Neill 26, Jacob 2, Swerk 8, Suelzle 2, Martin 6. Lake Stevens—Baldwin 3, Carbonatto 2, Whitman 3, Todd 3, Holloway 11. 3-point goals—Hutchison 2, O’Neill 3, Todd 1. JV score—Meadowdale 54, Lake Stevens 31. Records—Meadowdale 1-0 in league, 3-1 overall. Lake Stevens 0-1, 4-1.

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