SHORELINE — For nearly three quarters the Lynnwood girls basketball team made it look easy against host Shorewood. The Royals went ahead in the game’s early seconds, built the margin to double digits early in the second quarter, and pushed the lead to a high of 23 points late in the third quarter.
Over the last nine minutes it was anything but easy. But Lynnwood hung on, turning back Shorewood’s determined fourth-quarter rally for a 45-36 Wesco 3A victory on Friday night. The outcome improves the Royals to 11-4 this season and 7-0 in league games, and keeps them tied with Shorecrest atop the 3A standings.
“I think we got a little bit scared to shoot,” said Lynnwood coach Brent Hudson of his team’s play in the fourth quarter. “(Shorewood) was scoring on us a little bit better and so we weren’t able to run the way we were earlier, and then our half-court offense has struggled a little bit, especially when somebody plays a 2-3 (zone). Plus I think we were trying to hold the lead a little bit.”
Still, the Royals prevailed down the stretch. Guard Taylor Fahey swished a 3-pointer midway through the final period, ending a 12-0 Shorewood run that began in the final minute of the third quarter and raising Lynnwood’s lead back to 12 points. Two minutes later, guard Kaprice Boston dove out of bounds to save the ball after a teammate’s airball, and her in-bounds flip found center Kelsey Rogers under the basket for a layin.
Those two baskets were Lynnwood’s only points in the fourth quarter, but they were enough to thwart a gallant T-birds rally.
Earlier, the Royals broke the game open with a pesky man-to-man defense and then, after turnovers and missed baskets, a transition offense that led to repeated fast-break layins. The score was 25-12 at halftime, and in the third quarter Boston scored eight of her team’s 15 points as the lead swelled to 23 before the T-birds closed the quarter with two late baskets.
At the outset, Hudson said, the Royals “did exactly what we wanted them to do. We knew we had to box out (for rebounds), and then push the ball and create some stuff out of our fast break. … We played pressure defense and then we ran.”
“I feel like we played very solid,” Fahey said. “We knew this was going to be a big game, so we had to get ready to play and I think we played well. … In the fourth quarter, we were kind of shooting the ball early in the shot clock and it gave (Shorewood) a chance to get the rebound and come back.
“They made a big run on us,” she added, “and we just had to fight and make sure we kept our lead.”
With a showdown against Shorecrest looming on Wednesday, the Royals cannot look too far ahead. But Hudson also wants his players to understand their potential and the great possibilities that exist in the season’s remaining weeks.
“I believe in them,” he explained. “From the day I got hired I’ve been (saying), ‘Listen, ladies, this is about who you already are. I’m just going to come in and help you. You guys are already talented and now we just have to figure out how to help you jell as a team.’
“I’ve been telling them from Day 1, ‘We need to go to state.’ There’s a lot of good teams out there, so if we don’t stay focused that won’t happen. But if we stay focused on the things we want to do, I plan to be at the Tacoma Dome.’ But they always get mad at me. They’re like, ‘Knock on wood, coach. Knock on wood.’”
“It’s just a superstition thing,” Fahey said with a grin. “We don’t want to say we’re definitely going to make it (to state). We’ll definitely have to fight for it.”