Everett’s Mae Washington lays in a contested shot against Bishop Blanchet during a first round playoff game on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, at the Norm Lowery Gymnasium in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Everett’s Mae Washington lays in a contested shot against Bishop Blanchet during a first round playoff game on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, at the Norm Lowery Gymnasium in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Everett girls swarm Blanchet, advance in 3A state tournament

The Seagulls force 32 turnovers and Mae Washington pours in 17 of her game-high 27 points in the third quarter.

EVERETT — The Everett High School girls basketball team wouldn’t relent.

The Seagulls wreaked havoc all night with their full-court press. At times, it didn’t seem like challenger Bishop Blanchet could even get the ball up the court.

Business as usual for the suffocating Everett defense.

The Seagulls forced a whopping 32 turnovers and junior guard Mae Washington poured in 17 of her game-high 27 points in the third quarter as 12th-seeded Everett ran away with a 63-28 rout of 20th-seeded Bishop Blanchet in a loser-out opening round game of the Class 3A state tournament.

It’s the first victory for the Seagulls (17-8) in a state tournament game since 1996. Everett is just one win away from its first trip to the Tacoma Dome since the same year. The team advances to face 12th-seeded Peninsula in a win-or-go-home contest at 6 p.m. Friday at Tacoma Community College.

“It’s big,” Washington said. “… We want to get to the (Tacoma) Dome. That’s our big goal.”

Washington had five rebounds to go with her 27-point outing. The junior also came up big with 25 points in the Seagulls’ state-clinching victory over Snohomish last Saturday. She’s averaging 16.4 points since the start of the district tournament.

“She’s been playing really good this (postseason),” McNeal said. “She’s been hitting shots, she’s getting to the rim. … To see it all come together tonight and pay off, it was really nice to see. I’m happy for her.”

The standout 5-foot-11 guard’s performance was more than enough on a night where Everett put on a defensive clinic for all 32 minutes. The Seagulls forced 10 turnovers in the first quarter. They held Bishop Blanchet scoreless for a near quarter-long stretch from their first basket early in the first quarter until their next early in the second. In the third, they didn’t allow the Bears (12-15) to score until 3 minutes, 10 seconds remained in the period.

Six differnt Seagulls recorded a steal and five had multiple, including a team-high six by senior Junior Parrish and four in an all-around effort by junior Alana Washington.

“That’s the pace we want to play,” Everett coach Darrell McNeal said. “… Our defense will fuel our offense and we thrive off of that, we run off of that. That’s why we got the W.”

Everett’s Alana Washington hits a three point jumper against Bishop Blanchet during a first round playoff game on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, at the Norm Lowery Gymnasium in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Everett’s Alana Washington hits a three point jumper against Bishop Blanchet during a first round playoff game on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, at the Norm Lowery Gymnasium in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Alana Washington had 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, junior Mylie Wugumgeg added 10 points and four steals, and Parrish chipped in four points and six rebounds for Everett.

Sophomore Anna Garretson scored eight points and freshman Brooke Campbell added six to pace Bishop Blanchet.

Everett held the Bears to their second lowest scoring output this season and nearly 20 points below their average of 46.4 points.

Junior Selena Espinoza knocked down a 3-pointer and Alana Washington added a free throw as the Seagulls pushed their lead to 15-2 late in the first.

Freshman Neko Joseph capped a 7-o run with a 3-pointer and Bishop Blanchet pulled within 15-9 midway through the second, but Wugumgeg pushed her team’s lead back to double digits with a personal 6-0 run and the Seagulls’ lead never dipped below eight the rest of the way.

Everett’s Mylie Wugumgeg steals the ball against Bishop Blanchet during a first round playoff game on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, at the Norm Lowery Gymnasium in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Everett’s Mylie Wugumgeg steals the ball against Bishop Blanchet during a first round playoff game on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, at the Norm Lowery Gymnasium in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

The Everett defense continued to swarm and cause chaos in the third. Meanwhile, Mae Washington caught fire, connected on five 3-pointers and delivered a decisive blow with 17 of her team’s 21 third-quarter points. The 5-foot-11 guard’s final triple extended the Everett lead to 48-21 late in the third.

“I was in the zone,” Mae Washington said.

Everett forced nine turnovers in the final period to put the stamp on a stellar defensive performance and historic victory for the program.

“We’re competing, we’re energized. I like it,” McNeal said. “Now we’ve got a couple days to prepare for Friday, and we go from there.”

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