At the end of the league season in girls basketball, Sehome senior Carissa McDowell hopes she and some of her multi-sport teammates won’t be thinking about softball for three more weeks, as tempting as it may be.
“We really, really want to go to state!” she said – about basketball, mind you – with obvious emotion in the wake of an intriguing exhibition of hoops potential for the Mariners. “We (Sehome’s five seniors) have never been to state in basketball.”
The Mariners (4-1 overall, 1-0 Northwest Conference), led by Carissa and twin Tori McDowell, have been to Class 2A softball all three years, but Sehome’s 50-45 win Monday over host Squalicum in an NWC opener gave them plenty of encouragement in hoops.
That’s especially true considering how senior guard Des’ree Henry gave the Class 3A Storm (4-1, 0-1) a 9-0 lead by connecting on three of her first four 3-point attempts.
“I wasn’t worried. I felt we could do it if we worked hard enough,” said Carissa McDowell. She took over the primary defensive chores against the quick Henry at the urging of new coach Scott Larrabee, who spent the previous three seasons coaching girls in his native Indiana after guiding Ferndale’s boys for seven years.
“This was definitely our most complete game,” said Larrabee, whose team lost to the Storm 46-35 in a non-league opener, then held the next three opponents to only 92 points combined.
Squalicum, which also showed lots of potential, led until Carissa McDowell hit a 3-pointer for a 26-26 tie early in the third quarter.
The Mariners took the lead for good when Natalie Zender hit consecutive 3-pointers in the final seconds of the third quarter and the opening ticks of the final period, giving the Storm a 44-38 advantage. Carissa McDowell then fired a pass to Sarah Eisses to make it 46-38.
The Mariners, who finished with respectable 20 for 52 shooting, had such solid teamwork that six different girls scored the first six baskets of the third period.
WOLTERS A STANDOUT
Squalicum senior Chalae Wolters finished with game highs of 12 rebounds and 19 points, including two free throws with 4:37 left to cut Sehome’s lead to 46-40. At that point, Mariners freshman Aspen Garrison responded by capping capping a 12-point, 8-rebound effort with a huge hoop for 48-40.
Freshman guard Grace Schroder gave the Storm life for the final time with a 3-pointer, but Tori McDowell drove for a stylish layup and a 50-43 lead with just over one minute left. Wolters’ score off a rebound with 12 seconds remaining was the game’s final points.
EVERYONE HITS FOR SEHOME
Zender, who shot 4 for 7, scored all of her 10 points in the second half while Eisses finished with 10 points and eight rebounds and Carissa McDowell scored eight. What really made a difference as Sehome battled to catch up were the baskets by Taryn Clark, Kathleen Albert and Dana Ruffatto, who also grabbed three rebounds in the fourth quarter alone, each seemingly bigger than the last.
Henry finished with 11 points for the Storm and fellow senior Josie Andert scored eight. Senior guard Mariana Madera, playing tougher than her 5-foot-7 height, finished with 10 rebounds and five steals in a scrappy showing.