TACOMA — The Stanwood and Lynnwood high school girls basketball teams treated the early crowd at Wednesday’s Class 3A Hardwood Classic to electric opening quarter where it seemed like neither team could miss.
The teams combined for 11 triples in the first period, draining them from the corner, the top of the arc and well behind the line.
But when the 3-point barrage began to slow down in the second, the Spartans started getting to the hoop and built a double-digit cushion.
Lynnwood made a pair of runs in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to reel in Stanwood. The Spartans are heading back to the state quarterfinals as a result.
Freshman guard Ellalee Wortham led a balanced attack with 21 points and sixth-seeded Stanwood came one 3-pointer shy of tying a single-game 3A girls tournament record on its way to a 74-69 victory over 11th-seeded Lynnwood in an all-Wesco showdown in the round of 12.
“I was confident our girls would be ready to role at 9 (a.m.),” Stanwood coach Dustin Swanson said. “We’ve practiced at 9 all season long and looked really well doing it. I was hoping Lynnwood might be sleepy-eyed or whatever, but they’re a fantastic team with a lot of firepower. So I’m not surprised both teams came out firing.”
The Spartans (20-5) advance to face fourth-seeded Mead in the quarterfinals at 9 a.m. Thursday. It’s a rematch of last year’s quarterfinals, which Mead won 52-33.
The squads traded blows in the first in a grand display of lethal perimeter shooting. Lynnwood’s Aniya Hooker opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and Stanwood’s Grace Walker answered back with two more. Spartans senior Tatum Brager connected on a triple that put her team up 22-16 for its biggest lead of the opening frame. Eight different players hit 3-pointers in the first.
The Royals (17-7) tied the game at 32 on a layup from Hooker with 3 minutes, 37 seconds left in the second, but Stanwood started to make its run right after. The Spartans’ started attacking the basket off the drive and 6-foot-4 senior center Vivienne Berrett went to work in the post. It resulted in a 15-3 run to end the quarter as Stanwood pulled ahead 47-35. Berrett had 10 of her 16 points in the period.
The Spartans pushed their lead to as many as 18 in the third after a 3-pointer by senior Chloe Santeford with 3:09 left in the quarter, but Lynnwood responded with a quick run and cut its deficit to 58-48 on a 3-ball from Hooker late in the quarter.
Wortham helped Stanwood push its lead to 70-53 midway through the fourth with a pair of 3-pointers from the corner and a contested layup. Lynnwood stormed back after as Hooker provided 11 points during a 16-3 run that cut Stanwood’s lead to 73-69. But the Royals ran out of time as junior Dina Yonas’ 3-pointer that made it a four-point game came with just 4.3 seconds left.
“There was a moment in the fourth where we were playing too fast on offense,” Swanson said. “With the lead we just wanted to execute and get a great shot. … But Lynnwood played good D and they got a couple steals and they hit .. tough shots.”
Wortham scored 13 of her 21 points in the second half during a breakout performance for the freshman.
“She’s an amazing player,” Walker said. “She can really shoot it and she can drive. She’s good at literally everything.”
Berrett posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Brager scored 13 points, Walker had 12 points and Santeford chipped in 10 for Stanwood. Sophomore Ava Depew added six rebounds, six assists and three steals. The Spartans hit 11 3-pointers as a team.
“There’s so much focus on Viv inside and we know that,” Swanson said of the Royals’ efforts to slow down Berrett. “We want to take advantage of her talents, but we have fantastic guards that can attack and hit the 3. They were all contributing big time.”
Hooker poured in a game-high 26 points to go with six rebounds and four steals for Lynnwood. Junior Kayla Lornez added 16 points, junior Teyah Clark had 10, Yonas scored nine and junior Nyree Johnson chipped in three points and 10 rebounds. The Royals combined for 10 3-pointers.
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