Pressure foils Panthers

SNOHOMISH — Too much pressure.

That was the main problem for the Snohomish High School girls basketball team as the Panthers lost a highly anticipated season-opening game Wednesday at their home gym. The culprit was Auburn Riverside, which overcame a drastic height gap by pestering Snohomish with a full-court defensive press.

Auburn Riverside forced eight turnovers in the fourth quarter and turned a close game into a 60-49 non-league triumph. Junior guard Mercedes Wetmore (17 points) led the Ravens in a matchup of teams expected to contend for a Class 4A state championship.

“They’re just a really fast team and their pressure is obviously amazing. I think we weren’t really used to that since it was our first game,” said Snohomish forward Katie Benson, who scored 10 of her 14 points in the first half.

Snohomish, No. 19 in the ESPN RISE West Region preseason rankings, got within 42-40 when Karley Lampman scored two of her team-high 17 points on a close-range shot 13 seconds into the fourth quarter. But Auburn Riverside (No. 10 in the West Region poll) generated an 8-0 run and made enough foul shots down the stretch to maintain a comfortable lead.

In addition to getting better at handling full-court pressure, Snohomish has several other areas to improve on, Panthers head coach Ken Roberts said.

Snohomish was 9-for-16 on free throws and was unable to consistently take advantage of the 6-foot-1 Benson’s significant height advantage on offense. Benson warmed up in the second quarter, scoring eight points, but in the second half teammates didn’t find her as often.

“That hurt us bad,” Roberts said, “because we had some opportunities to get the ball in to Katie and we just didn’t do it. We just were a little impatient.”

Auburn Riverside had a five-point lead (32-27) at halftime. Benson made a short-range basket and two free throws in the final 25 seconds. Auburn Riverside, which committed 13 fouls in the half, was led by guards Wetmore and Amanda Thomson. They had 10 points apiece by the intermission.

In the third quarter, Brook Hinkens and Wetmore combined for 10 points in about five minutes, pushing Auburn Riverside’s lead to nine. Snohomish’s Lampman tallied seven straight points to cut the deficit to 42-40, but the Panthers didn’t get any closer.

Ed Rosin, Auburn Riverside’s first-year head coach, was happy to start with a win. There were some negatives though, he said: “Of course we’re happy to get the victory, but I don’t think we played our best. We had some breakdowns on defense.”

Still, the Ravens didn’t slip up enough to let Snohomish back in the game. Now the Panthers will get ready for their Western Conference North Division opener. They play host to Arlington Monday.

“We tend to get better as the season goes along, and we’ve got a lot to get better at,” Roberts said.

At Snohomish High School

Auburn Riverside13191018—60


Auburn Riverside—Wetmore 17, Thomson 12, Jenkins 3, Jackson 5, Cooper 11, Wofford 2, Hinkens 10, Clark. Snohomish—Guthrie 2, Schmitt 7, Lampman 17, Benson 14, Balin 5, Berg 2, Timmerman 2, Wayman, Bride. 3-point goals—Wetmore 1, Jackson 1, Hinkens 2, Schmitt 1, Lampman 1. JV score—Snohomish 50, Auburn Riverside 49. Records—Auburn Riverside 1-0 overall. Snohomish 0-1.

Writer Mike Cane: Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at

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