Mead’s Teryn Gardner (24) moves with the ball during a 3A semifinal game between Snohomish and Mead at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Snohomiosh fell, 56-50. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Mead’s Teryn Gardner (24) moves with the ball during a 3A semifinal game between Snohomish and Mead at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Snohomiosh fell, 56-50. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Snohomish girls get rolling too late, fall to Mead in 3A state semifinals

Snohomish makes a valiant second-half push, but comes up short 56-50 against the well-balanced top seed.

TACOMA — The Snohomish High School girls basketball team eventually got rolling and went toe-to-toe with the top team in the state. Unfortunately for Snohomish, that roll started too late, and there wasn’t enough time to catch up.

Snohomish, which trailed No. 1 seed Mead by 15 midway through the third quarter, whittled the lead all the way down to five with enough time remaining to make one final push. But Snohomish could get no closer as it lost the battle of Panthers 56-50 in the Class 3A state semifinals Friday night at the Tacoma Dome.

Tyler Gildersleeve-Stiles had 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists as Snohomish used its inside-out game to get back into it. But one of Mead’s many interchangeable parts found an answer every time Snohomish tried to go on an extended run.

“I think we put together a really tough game,” Gildersleeve-Stiles said. “I feel like the first half we didn’t shoot well, but the second half we really came out to play. I think we really worked our butts off and we have nothing to hang our heads about, we put everything out there.”

Gracie Wenkheimer came off the bench to score 15 points on five 3-pointers to lead Mead (26-1), which advanced to face No. 6 Garfield in the championship game at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Tacoma Dome. Teryn Gardner added 13 and Reese Frederick scored 10 for Mead.

Mead players celebrate after a 3A semifinal game between Snohomish and Mead at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Snohomiosh fell, 56-50. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Mead players celebrate after a 3A semifinal game between Snohomish and Mead at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Snohomiosh fell, 56-50. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Kendall Hammer added nine points on three 3s and Sienna Capelli scored eight for Snohomish (19-7), which faces No. 2 Lakeside (Seattle) for third place at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.

“The first half we dug ourselves a bit of a hole for two reasons,” Snohomish coach Ken Roberts said. “We gave up second-chance points to them. I thought we played great first-shot defense in the first half and throughout the game, but that first half was awful rebounding by us, we got a little too extended in our triangle, and they made shots on their second and third attempts, you can’t give those up to great teams. And we struggled to shoot a little bit in the first half, I thought we had some good looks that didn’t go.

“But our kids never gave up, we kept playing, kept competing. I was proud of them.”

Snohomish won its first two game in Tacoma in large part because of defenses designed to take away what its opponent did best. The problem Friday was that Mead had too many weapons for Snohomish to key on one or two. Gardner and Addison Wells-Morrison combined to score 51 in Mead’s quarterfinal victory over Bonney Lake. They had just three points on five shots in the first half Friday, yet Mead led 29-14 at the half as others stepped up. None stepped up more than Wenkheimer, who drilled three consecutive 3-pointers as Mead closed the half on a 13-2 run.

“We have so many threats we can rely on to make clutch shots,” Gardner said. “I think Snohomish may not have been expecting so many players to have so many points. We knew coming into the game they were going to try and take me out, going to try and take Addi out. It’ll affect us, but it’s not going to matter because we have so many other good players.”

Snohomish’s Catherine Greene (30) shoots the ball during a 3A semifinal game between Snohomish and Mead at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Snohomiosh fell, 56-50. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Snohomish’s Catherine Greene (30) shoots the ball during a 3A semifinal game between Snohomish and Mead at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Snohomiosh fell, 56-50. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Snohomish’s offense, which stalled in the first half, began finding the range in the second. However, Snohomish wasn’t able to worry Mead until the fourth quarter. Gildersleeve-Stiles and Catherine Greene began kicking to open shooters from the post, and 3s from Addyson Gallatin, Hammer (twice) and Lizzie Allyn — the first-year Allyn was forced into action after Capelli fouled out with 4 minutes, 15 seconds remaining — pulled Snohomish within 46-41 with 3:15 remaining.

A Gildersleeve-Stiles three-point play made it 49-44 with 2:35 remaining, and Snohomish got the ball back with a chance to make it a one-possession game. However, Mead came up with steals on back-to-back possessions to get the lead back to 10, and only a Hammer 3 as the horn sounded made it a six-point final margin.

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