EVERETT — After a Cinderella run with a young roster last season, expectations were amplified for the Meadowdale girls basketball team during the 2019-2020 campaign.
It’s been an up-and-down season, but that didn’t deter the Mavericks from eventually clinching their second consecutive state regional berth on Saturday at Everett Community College. Fifth-seeded Meadowdale asserted its authority from the tip and cruised to a 48-36 win over Snohomish to claim the third and final state berth from the Class 3A Northwest District Tournament.
“It was different,” senior wing Lily Williams said. “We called it our Cinderella story (last year); nobody really expected us and we kind of snuck in the backdoor and got in. But we definitely had a target on our backs and people expected bigger things from us this year, especially after last year.”
This was a rematch of a first-round matchup in the District 1 tournament on Feb. 14 but with a much different result this time around. The Panthers throttled the Maverick 57-39 to avenge a 47-41 regular-season loss.
While the Panthers dictated the pace in the first round, the Mavericks were dominant early on by roaring out to a 27-7 first-half lead.
Snohomish could not crack Meadowdale’s two-three zone defense, which forced a turnover on five of Snohomish’s first seven possessions.
“I was really impressed with our defense in the first half,” Meadowdale head coach Arie Mahler said. “We hadn’t really spread out our two-three (zone) until now and they rotated really well. We were able to contain (Kaylin) Beckman inside, who has caused us some problems before.”
After the sluggish start, the Panthers’ season came to a close. Snohomish graduates seniors Kinslee Gallatin, Averie Allbaugh, Gracie VanAssche and Beckman.
“We had a real slow start,” Snohomish head coach Ken Roberts said. “And they (Meadowdale) played well, but that’s not the first time we’ve done this this year, where we get smacked in the mouth early and we have to be mentally stronger than that. We had some girls hanging their heads and not able to execute.
“It’s kind of been our MO all year. You can watch us in the first half and you say, ‘Wow, how is this team in this game.’ and you watch in other games and you wonder why this team is in this game and not the championship. We were kind of Jekyll and Hyde and our record shows it and unfortunately today it wasn’t great for us.”
Junior post Fatoumata Jaiteh led the Mavericks (17-7) with 13 points. Junior guard Kaisha Stark wasn’t far behind with 12.
Snohomish (12-12) sophomore Ella Gallatin led all scorers with 24 points, including three 3-pointers.