Snohomish players reacts to winning the 3A girls district championship on Feb. 17 in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Snohomish players reacts to winning the 3A girls district championship on Feb. 17 in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Snohomish’s early adjustments lead to postseason success

The Panthers ‘reinvented’ their strategies and are now one of the top-seeded teams in the 3A Hardwood Classic.

The Snohomish girls basketball team stumbled out of the gates, but now they’re clearing hurdles.

At the beginning of the season, senior forward Addyson Gallatin tore her meniscus during a jamboree. With a key player missing from the lineup, the Panthers began the season 0-3, including back-to-back one-point losses to fellow Wesco 3A/2A contenders Arlington and Everett.

Snohomish played seven games before Gallatin returned to the court after Christmas, and though it was not the start head coach Ken Roberts, the team or Gallatin expected, the unfortunate circumstance forced the Panthers re-evaluate themselves and askthe question, “Who are we going to be?”

“I believe with Addy we probably (would have) started a little better,” Roberts said. “(We were) reinventing who were going to be as a team because with Addy we thought we’d play a certain style. Now that she’s back, we’re playing different(ly) than we were going to at the beginning of the year. She’s not as quick and not as comfortable inside (since the injury), but she still provides a lot for us as far as just stabilizing our team, leadership. We have started 0-3 before and been in the state championship game, so that’s hopeful.”

After a rough beginning, the Panthers went on two six-game win streaks separated by defeats to Lynden and King’s, both non-conference teams who have qualified for their respective state tournaments with top-four seeds. However, the 10-point loss to King’s on Jan. 27 was wake-up call that helped turn the Panthers into postseason competitors.

“We just didn’t play hard enough that game, and I think it was probably the best thing for us before that week of Meadowdale, Lynnwood (to finish the regular season before) the district tournament, just reminding our kids it’s not always what we’re doing but how we’re doing it,” Roberts said. “The losses don’t kill you. They’re good learning opportunities. … That one definitely taught us some lessons, and our kids have been focused on making sure that doesn’t happen again ever since.”

Snohomish responded by walking into Meadowdale and downing the Wesco 3A/2A-leading Mavericks and beating Lynnwood at home to climb into the third seed in the Class 3A District 1 tournament and receive a first-round bye.

“As the season progresses, we just meld more as a team,” junior forward Tyler Gildersleeve-Stiles said. “That really helps, especially once we start knocking out those big names. It gives us a little bit of confidence in ourselves.”

Snohomish took care of Monroe in the district quarterfinals and won a rematch with Meadowdale in the semifinals, clinching one of the tournament’s four state berths. Snohomish then pulled off an upset over three-time defending champion Arlington in the title game on Gildersleeve-Stiles’ putback just before the final buzzer.

Snohomish’s Addyson Gallatin and Tyler Gildersleeve-Stiles embrace after winning the 3A girls district championship on Feb. 17 in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Snohomish’s Addyson Gallatin and Tyler Gildersleeve-Stiles embrace after winning the 3A girls district championship on Feb. 17 in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

“We were trying to get a good RPI seeding, and we knew that those teams were going to come out playing tough,” Gallatin said about Wesco’s other top-tier teams. “They were the other top four in the league, and we knew that we need need(ed) to come out hard and ready to play against them.”

The Panthers’ late success has been aided by the play of its underclassmen.

Roberts said Gildersleeve-Stiles was shooting 45% from the field about 10 games ago, but has been over 60% the last 10 games. Sophomore guard Sienna Capelli has added a steady touch with 57% shooting.

Roberts said both stepped up in the biggest games of the season against Wesco contenders such as Meadowdale, Lynnwood and Arlington, “which tells you our team is executing well and getting the shots we’re supposed to be getting to be able to shoot that percentage.”

Snohomish’s Sienna Capelli looks for an open teammate during the 3A girls district championship game against Arlington on Feb. 17 in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Snohomish’s Sienna Capelli looks for an open teammate during the 3A girls district championship game against Arlington on Feb. 17 in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Roberts said when there are court threats such as Meadowdale’s Gia Powell, Arlington’s Samara Morrow and Everett’s Alana and Mae Washington, his team is aware and respects their abilities, but he also knows the talent he has and reminds the team its a scrappy bunch as well.

“We are focused on executing (and taking) a good shot,” Roberts said. “I don’t care if it goes in or not. If you’re taking the right shot, that’s going to pay off for us at this time of year. … We’re not focused on the result of the game as much as we’re just focused on doing our job.”

Snohomish didn’t qualify for state last year but is making its sixth trip to the Hardwood Classic since 2015. The Panthers are trying to add on to their collection of second, third and two fourth-place finishes during the stretch.

“We were young last year. We were just learning our team and how to … play on the court together,” Capelli said. “This year coming in, we’re a whole year older, and so that’s a whole year of experience, a whole summer off of just getting better and working hard to try and get to the goal that we’ve been trying to get to.”

Snohomish’s district-title push resulted in being awarded the third seed in the state tournament — the best of any local team regardless of gender or classification — and a chance to go straight to the quarterfinals with a win at regionals. The Panthers fell to sixth-seeded Garfield at regionals and face 11th-seeded Kennewick in the round of 12 at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday. A win would schedule a rubber match against Arlington in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

“Our goal is always to play on Saturday and hopefully win that game on Saturday,” Roberts said. “… We just go down and try to play our best. We never really set a goal to win a state championship as much as just performing the best we can.”

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

The Herald's Athlete of the Week poll.
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for April 8-14

The Athlete of the Week nominees for April 8-14. Voting closes at… Continue reading

X
Prep roundup for Monday, April 15

Prep roundup for Monday, April 15: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Chicago Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson, top, forces out the Seattle Mariners’ Jorge Polanco (7) at second base and makes the throw to first for the double play against Mariners’ Ty France to end the eighth inning of Sunday’s game in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Hitting woes plague Mariners again in series loss to Cubs

Seattle ended the weekend 6-10, and the offense has been the main culprit.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith may have been a Pro Bowler, but should Seattle consider prioritizing a quarterback in the NFL draft? (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
Should Seahawks prioritize quarterback in draft?

A challenger to Geno Smith is something worth considering for Seattle.

Snohomish's Morgan Gibson returns the ball in her match against Stanwood's Ryann Reep on Friday, April 12, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. Gibson lost the first set 4-6 but rallied back to win 6-2 in the second and 6-0 in the third. The Panthers bested the Spartans 5-2. (Taras McCurdie / The Herald)
Snohomish girls tennis bests Stanwood, 5-2

Panthers sweep singles, Spartans win first and second doubles

X
Prep roundup for Saturday, April 13

Prep roundup for Saturday, April 13: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

X
Prep roundup for Friday, April 12

Prep roundup for Friday, April 12: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Lake Stevens’ Jesse Lewis takes the handoff as the anchor in the 4x400 during a meet Thursday, April 11, 2024, in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens track and field retains Pilchuck Cup

Vikings’ David Brown, Jada Sarrys and Arlington’s Dallas Miller were standouts.

X
Prep roundup for Thursday, April 11

Prep roundup for Thursday, April 11: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

The Shorecrest High School boys soccer team plays keep away in the final minutes of a 5-0 victory over Mountlake Terrace on Wednesday at Edmonds Stadium. (Evan Wiederspohn / The Herald)
Shorecrest boys soccer shuts down Mountlake Terrace

Eddie Carli performs hat trick, Wyatt Kimball adds two scores as Scots get out of funk in 5-0 win.

X
Prep roundup for Wednesday, April 10

Prep roundup for Wednesday, April 10: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

X
Prep roundup for Tuesday, April 9

Prep roundup for Tuesday, April 9: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.