BOTHELL — Early in the game, Everett boys basketball coach Bryce Levin was unhappy with what he was seeing from his team. The visiting Seagulls had come out sluggish against Lynnwood on Friday night and Levin decided to get the kids refocused.
So he called a timeout and gave his team a pep talk.
Inspired by those words, or at least the urgency in the coach’s voice, Everett promptly turned the game around. The Seagulls were soon off on a 14-0 scoring run to seize a lead they never lost, and that burst was pretty much the eventual difference as Everett went on to a 52-44 Western Conference 3A victory in a game that was sometimes ragged, but always spirited.
With the victory the Seagulls improved to 6-6 in league games, 11-9 overall, while Lynnwood slipped to 4-7 and 6-13. Both teams are expected to qualify for the upcoming district playoffs.
The Royals were sharp early, getting four quick field goals including two 3-pointers for a 10-4 margin six minutes into the game. But from there the Lynnwood offense got off track for an extended stretch, going 10 minutes without a field goal from the late first quarter to halftime.
Lynnwood did manage five free throws in the final five minutes of the half, but in the meantime Everett was taking command of the game. In the last 10 minutes of the first half the Seagulls enjoyed a 21-5 scoring margin, with guard Desmond Burton putting the capper on that prolonged offensive flurry with a long 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer.
The visitors continued to pad their lead in the early moments of the third quarter, scoring eight of the first 10 points in that period to go on top by 16 points, 33-17, their biggest margin of the game.
But even though the Royals never led the rest of the way, neither did they go away. Lynnwood battled gamely to the end, but could never get closer than five points, 46-41, with 35 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The Royals even had ball possession at the point with a chance to make it a one-possession game, but they failed to convert.
Everett’s Byron Lewellen did his part to protect the margin, sinking six straight free throws in the final 22 seconds.
Indeed, free throws played a big part in the game’s outcome, with the Seagulls going to the stripe for 21 attempts and converting 19. Lynnwood finished with 23 chances at the line, but made just 13.
Lewellen finished as the game’s leading scorer with 14 points, while teammates Elijah Ross-Rutter added nine points and Preston Campbell chipped in eight. The only other player to reach double figures was Lynnwood’s Eli Edwards with 10 points.