Everett’s Alana Washington takes the ball down the court during the 3A girls state basketball game against Auburn on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Everett’s Alana Washington takes the ball down the court during the 3A girls state basketball game against Auburn on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Everett girls upset Auburn, advance to 3A state quarterfinals

Alana Washington’s layup in the final seconds lifts the Seagulls to a 43-42 win and their first quarterfinal berth since 1983.

TACOMA — The 12th-seeded Everett High School girls basketball team eked out a 43-42 victory Wednesday over fourth-seeded Auburn in the Class 3A Hardwood Classic round of 12.

Senior Alana Washington scored the winning layup with a 2.3 seconds remaining to slot the Seagulls into the quarterfinals on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. against sixth-seeded Garfield, the defending 3A state champions. The last time Everett reached the quarterfinals was 1983.

“My teammates, again, they’re putting me in the right position to score,” Washington said. “I was like, ‘I got to make this. This is an easy layup. Open lane.’ And I was thinking automatically back on defense … They can’t get a shot off.”

The final minute of the game resulted in several turnovers. Auburn turned the ball over on an errant pass, and a travel violation on the Seagulls’ ensuing possession handed the ball right back to the Trojans with about 25 seconds remaining. Then another bad pass by Auburn turned the ball over to Everett, which resulted in the winning shot.

“It was an ugly mess,” Everett head coach Darrell McNeal said of the final sequence of plays. “The girls know being in state, everybody’s good. You don’t get here by chance, you get here for a reason. A cool part about our team is we don’t quit. … We’re going to keep fighting and competing. And we know that it starts with our defense. … Our goal is to get tips. If we get tips, we get a chance to turn you over. And fortunately that worked out the way it did. We got a tip, we get the steal, and we got the outlet for the layup.”

Everett controlled the beginning two quarters. Alana Washington scored the first eight points for the Seagulls, and she bucketed 13 of her 15 points in the first half. Two 3-pointers by Mae Washington and two buckets by sophomore Emily Barton helped Everett establish a 29-22 lead at halftime.

Everett’s Emily Barton looks for an open teammate to pass to during the 3A girls state basketball game against Auburn on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Everett’s Emily Barton looks for an open teammate to pass to during the 3A girls state basketball game against Auburn on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The Trojans came out firing in the third quarter, tying the game 29-29, and gaining a 35-34 lead at the end of the session. The Trojans held a 42-39 advantage with under two minutes left in the fourth, but seniors Jaylah Brown and Bella Titialii fouled out, and Barton scored to pull Everett within 42-41. After the run of turnovers, Alana Washington leaked behind Auburn’s press for the open layup to win it.

Auburn freshman Avery Hansen kept the Trojans in striking distance the entire game. She was an all-court threat, finishing with 23 points, including four 3-pointers, and four rebounds.

Alana Washington added five rebounds. Mae chipped in 12 points and six rebounds, and Barton contributed nine points and 10 rebounds.

“We got to come out here and battle,” McNeal said about Thursday’s quarterfinal game. “[Garfield] has been here before. They know what a dog fight is all about. And so for them, it’s just another walk in the park. For us, we got to go out and compete, let them know that we’re here too.”

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