High School Basketball

Meridian girls suffer dismal loss to Burlington-Edison

Meridian’s Kiana Gray shoots the ball during a 77-47 loss to Burlington-Edison on Thursday in Burlington.
Meridian’s Kiana Gray shoots the ball during a 77-47 loss to Burlington-Edison on Thursday in Burlington. eabell@bhamherald.com

Coach Mark Gilmore is convinced that the worst effort of Meridian’s girls basketball season won’t prevent the Trojans from making their most spirited bid in 13 years for a Class 1A state tournament regional spot.

“If we play like we can, I think our chances are good to reach the regionals,” Gilmore said Thursday in the dismal wake of Meridian’s 77-47 Northwest Conference loss to Burlington-Edison (13-5, 10-2 NWC), the leader of the league’s eight 2A teams. “I’m proud of our girls and what they’ve accomplished.”

The Trojans (14-6, 9-4) turned in their best regular-season record in more than a decade, but they came in locked into a third seed for the six-team Northwest District Tournament, which matches three NWC teams and three Cascade Conference squads. Four will qualify for the ensuing bi-district tournament.

If we play like we can, I think our chances are good to reach the regionals. I’m proud of our girls and what they’ve accomplished.

Meridian girls coach Mark Gilmore

“I give Burlington a lot of credit,” Gilmore said. “Burlington was very disciplined. We just didn’t match their intensity. We didn’t bring any intensity. We didn’t bring any effort, and we didn’t execute well.”

Gilmore wasn’t being harsh; he was just being honest.

Gilmore said his girls will bounce back with energetic practices Friday and Saturday before their tournament opener Monday on the road.

“It’ll probably be against South Whidbey,” he said.

Something positive

Meridian trailed 17-15 before the Tigers blitzed them during a 17-3 run in the final half of the second quarter.

The one positive for the Trojans was that not only did all 12 players score, but Meridian’s reserves outscored Burlington’s bench 29-16. In fact, the Trojans’ backups outscored their starters 29-18, led by 10 points from junior guard Natalie Swanson, who made two 3-pointers and shot 3 for 4 from the field as her team’s only double-figure scorer.

Meridian trailed 17-15 before the Tigers blitzed them during a 17-3 run in the final half of the second quarter.

“We do have some depth,” Gilmore said, proud that his girls didn’t quit despite the circumstances.

Tiger stars

Quick junior guard Allyson Ray enjoyed one of her finest games for Burlington with 24 points via 9-for-14 shooting with three 3-pointers. Senior point guard Brandy Smith had 16 points, six assists and four steals.

Delaney Watson, a rugged 5-foot-8 guard/post, celebrated signing a letter of intent to play Division I soccer at Boise State by providing immediate energy with three first-quarter Burlington baskets.

Meridian learning

The Trojans started two seniors and have only three, so Gilmore readily acknowledged the team’s weakness.

“Consistency, that’s the hole in our game,” he said, noting several outstanding games, such as Meridian’s upset of 2A state hopeful Lynden, along with several disappointing outcomes.

Burlington winds up the regular season Monday at home against Sehome (11-8, 6-6) in a matchup of district-tournament qualifiers. Sehome also lost by 30 points Thursday, falling to Mount Baker 50-20.

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