Everett uses 4th quarter free throws to overcome Jackson

EVERETT – The way some teams clang free throws these days, it makes you wonder if the “free” part is really just a cruel joke invented by some wily smart aleck.

But once in a while a team rides the free-throw line to victory, just like the Seagulls of Everett High School did Wednesday night during a Western Conference South Division girls basketball game at Norm Lowery gymnasium. Everett nailed 12 of 16 free throws during a 26-7 fourth-quarter eruption to overcome a nine-point deficit and beat the Jackson Timberwolves 58-48.

Senior forward Elaina Olson was a perfect 7-for-7 on free throws in the final eight minutes, when she scored nine of her game-high 21 points for Everett (3-1 Wesco South, 4-1 overall).

The Seagulls shoot three sets of free throws every day, according to coach Craig Langley. It paid off big on Wednesday. “We just know we can hit ‘em. Our teammates are behind us, cheering us on,” said Everett guard Erika Hornyak, who contributed 15 points and a team-best five assists.

The victory gave Everett sole possession of third place in the league behind Meadowdale (5-0, 5-0) and Mountlake Terrace (4-1, 5-1). “Now we know we can play with anybody,” Hornyak said.

Senior post Sam McCracken scored 19 points for Jackson (3-2, 4-2), which fell into a tie for fourth with Shorecrest (3-2, 3-3).

The body-banging fourth quarter took Jackson out of its game, according to Jackson coach Jeannie Thompson. “The momentum swung in a direction we weren’t prepared to handle. There was body contact … it was a very physical game out there.”

Timberwolves’ freshman guard Kristi Kingma left the game with 23 seconds remaining after hurting her left shoulder during a collision. Thompson expects Kingma, who came in averaging 13 points per game and scored seven, to return in time for Jackson’s next game, a non-league contest Jan. 6 at Mount Vernon (0-7).

“We just need to re-focus,” Thompson said. “The girls are fired up right now. They’d like to get out there and play Everett again tomorrow.”

In its next game, Everett hosts Lake Stevens (6-2) Dec. 30 in a non-league battle.

The Seagulls used a 7-0 game-opening run en route to an 11-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. Jackson committed seven turnovers in the period and McCracken didn’t get a shot off, scoring two points at the free-throw line.

But after going scoreless in the first 4:04 of the second quarter, Jackson outscored Everett 15-3 to take a 23-17 lead by halftime. McCracken scored eight during the run, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Timberwolves took much better care of the ball in the period, losing just one turnover.

Jackson continued to pull away in the third quarter, building a 30-18 lead on McCracken’s layin with 6:20 to go. Everett started rebounding better and drawing fouls, but it still trailed by eight (38-30) by the end of the period.

Then came the Seagulls’ explosive fourth-quarter rally. Crossen’s baseline jumper put Everett up 49-47 with 1:25 remaining.

Besides sinking free throws, Everett attacked the boards much better in the second half to get back in the game. “We needed to rebound more. We knew that that was our main focus,” said Everett senior center Becca Crossen, who scored eight of her 10 points in the second half.

At Everett



Jackson-Smith 5, Kingma 7, Rockenstire 3, McCracken 19, Bruns 6, Addington 6, Todd 2. Everett-Hornyak 15, Olson 21, Larsen 5, Crossen 10, Austin 5, Seanoa 2. 3-point goals-Hornyak, Olson, Smith, McCracken, Kingma. JV score-Jackson 66, Everett 35. Records-Jackson 3-2 in league, 4-2 overall. Everett 3-1, 4-1.

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