MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Getchell High School girls basketball program has been steadily on the rise since its inception in 2011.
But for the vast majority of the school’s short history, the Chargers have been somewhat of an afterthought in the crowded Wesco 3A girls hoops scene.
Marysville Getchell is enjoying a breakthrough 14-3 campaign, having already set a program record for most wins in a season. The Chargers are a program-best 8-3 in Wesco 3A/2A play, sitting at fifth place in the 15-team league.
“We’re always like the underdog,” Marysville Getchell senior standout Mikail Montez said. “We’re never really seen as competition with (the top) teams. But going into this season, we wanted to be the team that surprises everybody.”
The Chargers suffered through a winless inaugural season in 2011-12, but improved their record every year from then until 2016-17, when they finished 12-10 for their first winning season in program history. After dropping to 5-15 last season, Marysville Getchell resumed its ascent this winter with a milestone campaign that’s put Chargers girls basketball on the map.
“It’s been awesome,” Montez said. “We work just as hard as the other schools, and so it’s really nice having all that hard work pay off for us.”
One of the biggest differences from last year’s five-win team is the return of two key players — Montez and junior Maddy Grandbois — who were sidelined all of last season.
Montez starred for the Chargers as a freshman before transferring to Archbishop Murphy the following year. She then transferred back to Marysville Getchell, but had to sit out last season because of transfer rules.
Grandbois suffered a torn ACL while playing soccer in the fall of 2017, which forced her to miss all of last basketball season. The injury came just nine months after her older sister, Gabby, tore her ACL as a senior on the Chargers’ basketball team.
“2017 was not a good year in our house,” said Marysville Getchell coach Shannon Grandbois, who is the mother of Maddy and Gabby.
“It was tough,” Maddy Grandbois said of missing her sophomore season. “I remember just sitting at the games, and it’d be so frustrating just to be sitting at them — not playing in them.”
But after a year of rehabilitation, Maddy Grandbois is back on the court — along with Montez and seven returnees from last year’s team. Montez and Maddy Grandbois have provided the Chargers a massive boost, with the two players averaging a combined 24 points per game.
“It’s huge,” Shannon Grandbois said of their return. “The chemistry between the two of them is pretty significant. … It’s a dynamic that I’ve been waiting for for a long time.”
Marysville Getchell’s calling card is a strong defense that’s held every opponent this season to 50 points or less in regulation. The Chargers allow just 38.5 points per game in Wesco 3A/2A play, which is tied for third-best in the conference.
“That is where we build our program,” Shannon said. “Defensively, if we can stop a team, (our) offense will flow. And so we really concentrate on keeping teams to that 40-point mark. That’s our goal every game.”
Shannon said her team fluctuates between man-to-man defense and a trapping 3-2 zone.
“They’re pretty dynamic in that (zone),” Shannon said. “With the (good) shooters in our league, it gives us room to get out on them and help a little bit inside. But I think it’s (our) speed and anticipation that makes us a good defensive team.”
Montez excels in the post for the Chargers, averaging team highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds per game. Maddy, a versatile forward, adds nine points, six rebounds and two blocks per contest.
Senior point guard Sydney Norton, termed by Shannon as the team’s “defensive specialist,” provides seven points and two assists per game. Junior guard Kortney Crane is Marysville Getchell’s top outside shooter, with 35 made 3-pointers. And a handful of others have made important contributions for the Chargers.
“We just have all the pieces,” Shannon said. “We’ve got shooters. We have an inside that’s really strong. We have some really versatile players. All of those pieces — with the (team) chemistry — it makes for a really good team.”
Marysville Getchell emphasized its tight-knit bond, which was evident after Saturday morning’s practice and film session. Many players stayed well afterward, joking around with one another in the film room while enjoying doughnuts provided by their coach.
“We’re all really close, and (most of us have) been playing together for quite a while,” Norton said. “We all are great friends, and it makes the season a lot more enjoyable. … We’re a big family.”
Marysville Getchell’s biggest win to date came earlier this month in a 47-41 comeback victory over perennial league power Edmonds-Woodway. The Chargers trailed by nine points at halftime, but outscored the Warriors 19-4 in the third quarter en route to the signature win.
“That was probably my favorite game that I have ever played in, and I’m sure a lot of other girls can say the same,” Montez said. “Edmonds-Woodway has always been (one of) the top teams. … It really just shows the (kind of) players that we are, and how we’re determined and don’t ever give up.”
Since the school opened earlier this decade, Marysville Getchell’s sports teams often have played second fiddle to those from rival Marysville Pilchuck.
But along with a boys basketball team that’s having its best season ever and a girls soccer program that reached state in 2017, the Marysville Getchell girls basketball team’s success-filled year illustrates an athletic program that appears to be on the rise.
“The support from the faculty and the student body is growing with every sport,” Shannon Grandbois said. “… I think (it’s) showing that Getchell is a really good sports place, as well as an educational place. We’ve been the educational place, but now … there are (sports) traditions that are growing.”
With three conference games remaining, the Chargers are fourth in the Class 3A Northwest District RPI rankings, which determine the seedings for the upcoming district tournament. The top six seeds avoid the loser-out play-in round and head directly to the district quarterfinals, with the top four seeds hosting those quarterfinal matchups.
Marysville Getchell has never won a postseason game, going a combined 0-4 in its previous two district-tournament appearances in 2016 and 2017.
This year’s team is aiming to change that.
With a top-four finish in the district tournament, the Chargers would continue their historic season with a first-ever trip to the state regionals.
“It would be huge for this school, for the program (and) for our seniors,” Norton said of reaching state. “It would be amazing.”