STANWOOD — Under the heading of good news for the Stanwood girls basketball team, the Spartans got off to a good start at the Class 3A District 1 Tournament Friday night by knocking off visiting Shorecrest 59-47.
Under the heading of not-so-good-news, the Spartans know they need to cut down on their mistakes — mostly careless turnovers and overly aggressive fouls — if they hope to advance through the tournament.
Stanwood will next play Lynnwood, the Wesco 3A regular-season champion, on Tuesday night at Mountlake Terrace High School, “and it’s going to take a lot better effort,” said Spartans coach Dennis Kloke. “A (better) mental effort. We have to eliminate all those turnovers. … Some of our turnovers were things we don’t even do at practice.
“But to the kids’ credit,” he added, “they unified (late in the game), they listened to what we wanted done, and they made some big baskets. We came down, had a little patience and got a shot at the basket or got to the free-throw line. And for a stretch there we kept (Shorecrest) off the foul line.”
In what turned into a foul-filled game, Stanwood spotted the Scots an early 2-0 lead, but then quickly moved in front to stay. The margin was 10-2 midway through the first period, 16-9 at the end of the quarter, and never dropped below four points the rest of the way.
Still, Shorecrest never went away. Led by junior forward Audrey Dietz, who would finish with a game-high 16 points, the Scots did not let the deficit get larger than 10 points until the game’s final minute.
For fans who like free throws, this was a good one to watch. The Spartans were whistled for 21 fouls, sending Shorecrest to the line for 29 attempts, with the Scots converting 17. Shorecrest committed 18 fouls and Stanwood was 14-for-22 at the stripe.
“We started the game the way we wanted to, but then we didn’t keep building on the lead,” Kloke said. “We started making little mistakes that hurt us and allowed (the Scots) to stay in. We didn’t value the ball on offense … and defensively we were playing like we were behind, trying to steal the ball, reaching, and putting them on the foul line.”
“It wasn’t one of our best games,” agreed guard Ashley Bierer, the only senior on the Stanwood roster. “There’s plenty of room for improvement. But I think overall we’re becoming better at playing in unison.”
As for the fouls, she said, “I felt like we didn’t play defense any different than we play any other night … We play aggressive. … But our coach said we were playing like we were (behind). We were trying to get steals and trying to pick off passes we didn’t need to which led to more fouls.”
The Spartans opened the season with 12 consecutive wins before a three-game losing streak that included a 69-56 loss to Lynnwood. Now Stanwood, which has won another six in a row, will get another shot at the Royals, “and that’s who I want to play, though I kind of wanted to play them in the district championship (game),” Kloke said with a grin.
In the previous game with Lynnwood, Bierer said, “everyone was mentally not there. So I feel like when we play them again, we’ve been winning more (lately), we’re more positive mentally and verbally, and I think we’ll do a lot better playing them the second time.”
Shorecrest, which had its season record drop to 12-9, will face Arlington in a Tuesday night loser-out game in the district’s consolation bracket.