EDMONDS — Edmonds-Woodway nearly put a major dent into the Shorecrest High School girls basketball team’s Wesco 3A/2A title hopes.
But after the Warriors stormed back from an 11-point second-half deficit to force overtime, the Scots pulled away in the extra period to stay in control of the league-title race.
Standout center Kiana Lino swished a pivotal 3-pointer in overtime and Shorecrest came up with key defensive stops down the stretch to prevail for a 59-52 road win Tuesday night and move one step closer to a conference crown.
“It’s just our will to win this time of year,” said Scots coach Carlos Humphrey, whose team battled for a second consecutive narrow victory after cruising to a string of blowout wins. “That (was) the difference.”
With the victory, Shorecrest (16-1, 10-1 Wesco 3A/2A) held serve in the league-title race. The Scots are tied with first-place Arlington (16-2, 11-1) in the loss column of the conference standings, but own the head-to-head tiebreaker from their 58-43 win over the Eagles on Dec. 20.
So if Shorecrest wins each of its final three league games, the Scots will be Wesco 3A/2A champions. Shorecrest closes at Cedarcrest (13-5, 7-5), at Everett (9-7, 5-5) and against Lynnwood (7-11, 7-5).
“Although we do talk about it and that’s one of our goals, mentally with a bunch of teenagers, getting them to lock in and have a goal like that, we just take it one step at a time,” Humphrey said. “That’s the only way you can do it in Wesco, because all teams are good and you have to come play every night.”
Shorecrest got everything it could handle from Edmonds-Woodway, which shook off a slow start and exploded for 32 second-half points against the Scots’ stingy defense to force overtime.
But in the extra period, it was all Shorecrest.
Early in overtime, Maura Weaver drained a baseline jumper to put the Scots in front. Then came a surprising 3-pointer from Lino, a dominant center and reigning shot-put state champion who does most of her damage inside.
As guard Leila Hosn drove to the basket, Lino faded out to the left corner and received her teammate’s pass. The talented center didn’t hesitate, launching a rare 3-pointer and hitting nothing but net to give Shorecrest a 54-49 lead with 2:32 to play.
“That’s something that we’ve put in our offense maybe three weeks ago,” Humphrey said. “That’s probably (just) her third 3 of the season. … (Defenses) see her as just a big post player, but she does have the ability to step out and shoot it.”
From there, the Scots’ league-best defense did the rest. Shorecrest held Edmonds-Woodway (10-8, 8-4) scoreless for nearly the entire overtime period and outscored the Warriors 10-3 in the extra frame.
“We’re a defense-first team,” Humphrey said. “… That’s been our mantra all year long: ‘Defense first.’”
It was Shorecrest’s ninth consecutive win since falling to Snohomish in its only loss of the season. The Scots had rolled to seven straight victories by more than 20 points before edging Stanwood 39-36 on Saturday and surviving Edmonds-Woodway in overtime.
Lino finished with another massive double-double, totaling 15 points and 15 rebounds. Senior guard Amanda Lee led the Scots with 16 points and swiped four steals. Hosn added 10 points and nine rebounds, while Weaver chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds.
Maddie McMahon netted a team-high 14 points for Edmonds-Woodway, which sank eight 3-pointers. But the Warriors were hurt by poor free-throw shooting, finishing just 4-of-12 at the line.
“Our free-throw shooting let us down,” Edmonds-Woodway coach Jon Rasmussen said. “We usually shoot 70% from the line, so that was costly.”
After a low-scoring opening period, Shorecrest rattled off nine straight points late in the second quarter and led 26-17 at halftime. The Scots stretched the margin to 11 points early in the third quarter, but Edmonds-Woodway came roaring back with a 10-0 run to slice the deficit to 32-31.
With the teams trading blows throughout the fourth quarter, Hosn sank a high-arcing 3-pointer to give Shorecrest a 49-46 lead with three minutes remaining in regulation.
Then after Edmonds-Woodway answered with a short jumper from Brooke Kearney and a game-tying free throw from McMahon, both defenses came up with stops in the final minute to force overtime.
“What a game it was,” Rasmussen said. “After battling back (from) being down and coming back like that, we had momentum.”
But after finding their groove in the second half, the Warriors struggled to score late against Shorecrest’s tough defense. Edmonds-Woodway — one of just two teams all season to reach 50 points against the Scots — managed just one point over a six-minute span until a 3-pointer in the game’s closing seconds.
With the loss, the Warriors dropped to sixth place in Wesco 3A/2A. Edmonds-Woodway trails the third-place trio of Snohomish, Meadowdale and Archbishop Murphy by one game apiece.
The Warriors got only limited minutes from veteran point guard AJ Martineau, who was battling illness.
“That hurts when you take your floor leader off the court,” Rasmussen said. “And bless her heart, she worked her tail off. But let’s hope she can get healthy and we’ll get her back in districts at full-speed.”