EVERETT — It didn’t matter the situation. Made or missed basket, made or missed foul shot; Everett’s press defense sought out to suffocate its opponent right from the opening tip.
The Seagulls forced 26 first-half turnovers and didn’t allow a single field goal in the first half and trounced Cascade, 51-13, in the annual BruGull Fest matchup at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center at Everett Community College on Friday.
“We knew we wanted to come out and play well going into tonight’s game and we had such great practices leading up to this game,” Everett coach Luther Weathersby said. “After last night’s practice, I walked out of there saying, ‘We’re going to play well, because these kids practice well.’”
Everett fired off a 20-0 run to begin the game until a free throw from Kaylee Eke with 6:15 remaining in the second quarter broke the string. The Seagulls didn’t let off the gas and continued to press, taking a 31-4 lead into the locker room.
Weathersby said he was impressed with his team’s poise in a rivalry game. The Seagulls boast just two seniors, forward Brooklyn Johnson and guard Morgan Carter.
“I was impressed, because at a few points tonight we had four freshmen and a sophomore on the court,” sophomore point guard Farrah Parrish said. “They’re just getting better and better, so it’s very impressive.”
Cascade’s first field goal was courtesy of junior Shynenitha Pich at the 6:35 mark of the third quarter.
Everett’s scoring was bolstered by its young backcourt. Freshman Ella Sylvester and Carter led the Seagulls with 10 points apiece and Parrish chipped in nine.
Sylvester and Parrish, in addition to being two of the team’s top three scorers, were at the top of the Seagulls’ press and 2-3 trap defense and were the primary components of Everett’s defense.
“We practice defense every day,” Parrish said. “We get into this drill every day, and it’s just shuffling feet for like 30 minutes. We work hard on our defense.”
Weathersby said he’s wanted to employ a press in the past, but hasn’t always had the personnel to carry it out in the last couple years. With first-year players Parrish — she played junior varsity last year after transferring from Snohomish — and Sylvester, the future is bright.
“They’re going to be fantastic over the next couple years,” Weathersby said. “I’m really, really excited for the future of Everett basketball.”