BOTHELL — At the start of this season, the Lynnwood girls basketball team had to deal with a lot of change. The Royals had a new head coach (Brent Hudson) and a new core nucleus of players. They showed some signs of inconsistency during their non-league slate, losing four of their first eight contests.
But Lynnwood has rebounded from its slow start in a big way. The Royals won their eighth straight game Wednesday, 48-32 over Shorecrest in a battle of teams tied for first place in Wesco 3A.
Hudson inherited a team that, while looking different from last season’s 26-1 squad, has plenty of talent. Kaprice Boston and Kelsey Rogers, supporting players during the last couple of years, have stepped up into starring roles this season.
Those two, along with the other returning players that were part of Lynnwood’s run to the 3A state tournament semifinals last season (the Royals won the state title two years ago), have experienced a lot of winning in the last few years. They don’t get rattled in tense situations. They have high expectations for themselves. And they sure weren’t going to get too concerned after a few early-season losses.
“We had to adjust to a new coach, and we lost (a lot) of rebounding and scoring (from last year),” said Boston, who scored 11 points Wednesday. “But we started to figure out our roles. We don’t really have a top scorer — everyone can contribute, and that helps a lot. It’s tough to lose, especially when you come from a winning program, but it was good because we learned from those losses. We developed a team chemistry.”
Lynnwood (12-4 overall, 8-0 Wesco 3A) came out with a defensive intensity that overwhelmed the Scots (11-5, 7-1), and the Royals’ offense thrived due to crisp passing and strong rebounding. They took a 19-7 lead after the first quarter and expanded their advantage to 33-15 at halftime.
The Royals led by as much as 25 points in the second half.
“I talk all the time about creating havoc and chaos on the defensive end,” Hudson said. “The girls are really starting to buy into it. They’re seeing that a strong defensive effort will lead to offense. We’re not giving teams a lot of easy shots. The girls are believing in what they’re doing.”
Shorecrest, meanwhile, will enter the postseason battle tested to say the least.
After Wednesday’s loss to the conference’s top team, the Scots will conclude their regular-season slate with games against four more squads in the upper half of the Wesco 3A standings — Shorewood, Snohomish, Arlington and Stanwood.
“Considering how young we are, I like the way our schedule is set up,” Scots coach Dori Monson said, “because we’re a lot better now than we were a month ago. With all of the other big dogs coming up, we’re better equipped to play them. I’m excited to see what we can do in the next couple of weeks. I think tonight was an aberration.”
Shorecrest’s success is even more impressive when one considers the fact that the Scots have played the vast majority of the season without their best player. Six-foot forward Julia Strand, an all-Wesco 3A second-team selection a year ago as a sophomore, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during the second game of the season.
“We built our offense around her, so we’ve had to make a lot of adjustments,” Monson said. “We’ve got two freshmen starting right now, and a third is the first or second (player) off the bench, so we are a young team. But the young players have gotten better as the season has progressed.”
Rogers led Lynnwood with 15 points, while Kira Wood was the only Scots player in double figures with 12 points.