At practice, the Edmonds-Woodway girls basketball team will arrange 10 players around the 3-point line and in five minutes with five balls try to sink as many 3-pointers as possible.
Warriors coach Jon Rasmussen quickly learned he had a team full of shooters when he came to Edmonds-Woodway three years ago.
The Warriors made a record 130 triples during the drill in Rasmussen’s first year. Video proof still exists on his phone.
“Some say you got the Golden State Warriors and you got the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors,” Rasmussen said. “We are not similar, but maybe we are.”
One thing holds true: Edmonds-Woodway can flat-out shoot.
Last season, as the Warriors broke out with an 18-2 regular-season record, Edmonds-Woodway miraculously attempted more 3-point field goals than 2-pointers — a testament to the freedom Rasmussen gives his team as well as the Warriors’ ability to hit shots from deep.
“It’s fun to be on a team that has a lot of players that can shoot so well,” Edmonds-Woodway senior guard Adrienne Poling said. “Last year I know for a fact against Kamiak we hit 16 3s in one game. The refs came up to us after the game and said, ‘Wow, that was insane.’ We thought, ‘We need film on this to prove that we did it.’”
As special as Edmonds-Woodway’s 2017-18 season was (it finished second in Wesco 3A, owning an 18.7-point scoring differential), the year left much to be desired following a season-ending loss in the 3A Northwest District tournament.
The tournament illuminated Wesco 3A’s depth, as the league’s top finishers in the regular season — Snohomish and Edmonds-Woodway — were eliminated before reaching the 3A state tournament. The exit has motivated the Warriors throughout the offseason and refocused their energy toward defense after Edmonds-Woodway gave up season highs of 77 and 69 points in district tournament losses to Lynnwood. The latter — a 69-59 defeat — ended Edmonds-Woodway’s season.
“We worked so hard, and it was really devastating to lose that game,” Warriors junior guard AJ Martineau said. “We think back to it and run back how we lost and don’t want to deal with that again. It’s a chip (on our shoulders) that we have coming into the season. A lot of players were frustrated it happened, and have now turned that into determination for us.”
This year’s Warriors certainly have the pieces to get back to the district tournament and perhaps make a state run. Edmonds-Woodway’s roster is made up entirely of juniors and seniors and returns almost every player from a year ago.
Poling, a 6-foot senior guard; Martineau, a 5-6 junior wing; and Ingrid Fosberg, a 5-9 senior guard, highlight a deep roster. Poling earned first-team All-Wesco 3A honors last year, and Martineau and Fosberg were second-team selections. The Warriors will have to overcome the loss of Mia Dickenson, arguably the team’s best defender, who sustained a torn knee ligament in the offseason.
Edmonds-Woodway hopes to do so with its patent run-and-gun offense and lockdown defense. Even though Rasmussen doubts his Warriors again will register more 3-point attempts than 2-point shots, Edmonds-Woodway and its spread offense with no true post will gladly let the treys fly if they get the looks.
“You build to your team’s strengths, but every year is different,” Rasmussen said. “I will never tell a shooter not to shoot. It’s just the selection of the shot (that varies). They have the green light as long as it’s a good shot.”
The wide-open playing style and freedom Rasmussen offers his players is something Poling and Martineau love about playing for Edmonds-Woodway.
“It’s so fun,” Martineau said. “Every single game getting up and down the court, it’s exciting to watch teammates have success in games.”
“I think everyone wants to score,” Poling said. “Very rarely do you find a team that just wants to play defense. A goal of ours last year scoring was we would try to get everyone else on the bench to score in a game. It’s fun when you are working together and encouraging each other.”
Edmonds-Woodway is hoping those good times continue this winter, but Rasmussen has gone out of his way to schedule a difficult non-conference slate. The Warriors already faced last year’s 1A state champions, Lynden Christian (a 65-53 loss). They also play state participants Stanwood and Lake Stevens early and will challenge themselves at the Top of the Peak holiday tournament.
“Hopefully we can build on our successes last year,” Rasmussen said, “and we’ll see how it happens this year. We have a great bunch of kids, and I’m looking forward to this season.”