SNOHOMISH — The holiday non-conference slate offers teams a chance to test themselves, which often produces critical lessons needed to be learned before league play ramps up in January.
The Snohomish Panthers, playing at home against one of the state’s premier girls basketball teams in Lynden Christian, discovered they have plenty of work to do in the new year.
“We played Glacier Peak and Lynden Christian, who both beat us pretty handily,” Snohomish coach Ken Roberts said. “They are two of the best teams in the state, I think at any level. We aren’t there. That is one thing you take away from it. We are not there right now. We got to get better the rest of the year, obviously, but we played a real tough non-league schedule.”
In a matchup between last year’s Class 1A state champion and Class 4A’s state runner-up, Snohomish never found success against the Lyncs’ stingy multiple-look zone defense and suffered a 46-27 non-conference loss Friday night at Snohomish High School.
The Panthers’ 27 points was well below their previous season low of 45.
Maya DuChesne led Snohomish (7-3) with eight points, which were all scored in the third quarter. Katie Brandvold added seven points, and Kyra Beckman chipped in four points to go with five rebounds, three steals and three blocks.
Lynden Christian’s defense frustrated Snohomish’s attack with multiple zone looks, and Beckman — a 6-foot-1 sophomore — struggled scoring inside against LC’s athletic 6-1 post Sam VanLoo. The Panthers also shot poorly from the perimeter, and were never able to loosen up the Lyncs’ zone.
“They did a lot of changing of defenses and mixing things up,” Roberts said. “We didn’t do a very good job of finishing inside, and for us to be good we need to be able to finish inside. We struggled to do that. We have some young kids that are very good players, but with youth I think you get some up and down.”
A bright spot for the Panthers was their strong team defense. Snohomish limited the Lyncs (8-1) to their second lowest scoring total of the year, but costly turnovers — specifically a handful of crosscourt passes that were intercepted by LC’s Avery Dykstra and converted into layups — burned the Panthers.
Dykstra scored a game-high 19 points to go with five steals, all of which resulted in easy layups as she patrolled the top of Lynden Christian’s zone.
“They were just given away,” said Roberts of Dykstra’s 10 points off turnovers. “Just crosscourt passes that were lazy passes. I’d rather see us hold onto the ball and get a five-second count. I honestly think we had five different kids do it.”
Snohomish trailed for nearly the game’s entirety.
A free throw from Beckman gave Snohomish a 5-4 lead with 4:08 to play in the first, and that was the last time the Panthers owned an advantage.
Lynden Christian finished the quarter on a 7-0 run and outscored Snohomish 9-4 in the second quarter to take a 20-9 halftime edge.
DuChesne’s eight third-quarter points helped keep the Panthers hanging around, but a layup from VanLoo, who finished with 13 points, with 0:20 to play in the third gave the Lyncs a 36-18 edge and put the game out of reach.