Lake Stevens knocks off Mariner in Wesco 4A showdown | Girls basketball

Key Marauders sit on bench due to foul issues
By David Pan | Jan 10, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Mariner’s Hannah Hezekiah (left) is grabbed by Lake Stevens’ Laycie Taylor during a Wesco 4A game Wednesday, Jan. 3, at Mariner High School.

Mariner has work to do.

Lake Stevens staked its claim to the top spot in the league with a decisive 62-30 victory over the Marauders in a Wesco 4A girls basketball showdown Wednesday, Jan. 3, at Mariner High School.

Both teams came in undefeated in league play, but it didn’t take long for the Vikings to pull away from Mariner.

Lake Stevens took a 13-7 lead into the second quarter and then outscored the Marauders 15-7 to extend their advantage to 28-14 at halftime. By the end of the third quarter, the Vikings led 45-24.

“We definitely froze in the first half,” senior Hannah Hezekiah said. “I think we just froze because it was a big game and I definitely think we’re going to be more prepared the next time we play them.”

Senior Kylee Griffin scored a game-high 22 points and teammate Raigan Reed added 19 points for Lake Stevens. Griffin guarded Mariner’s Taliyah Clark and limited the freshman standout to only 6 points. Clark struggled with foul problems, picking up her fourth early in the third quarter and eventually fouling out in the final period.

She wasn’t the only Marauder with foul issues. Hezekiah, who fouled out in the fourth quarter, and senior Denisa Grebovic both picked up three fouls in the first half.

“It’s hard when you have one or two of your better players in foul trouble,” Mariner coach Corey Gibb said. “It can be hard to compete. … You’ve got to learn to play and adjust your game to the way the game is being called.”

Hezekiah led the Marauders (3-2 in the league, 8-3 overall) with 10 points and Grebovic had 7 points.

“We could not run a play,” Hezekiah said. “We were trying to get a lot of things to work. I don’t think we were rotating very well.”

Lake Stevens’ height advantage helped the Vikings on the offensive boards with second, third and sometimes even fourth offensive opportunities. Griffin is 6-foot-2.

“Blocking out hurt us,” Gibb said. “You’re giving them three or four shots at the basket, they’re going to make one. Lesson learned. Next time we’ll do a better job of blocking out and making sure we maintain contact on our block-outs.”

Even though Griffin scored 22 points, Gibb said that the Marauders did a good job on defense. The plan was for Tiana Nguyen and Tina Duangmani to guard Griffin.

“I thought Tina and Tiana did a nice job of being physical with Kylee,” Gibb said. “Our game plan was to be physical with her. I thought they did a decent job. She’s legitimate. She’s one of the best players in the state for a reason.”

Mariner held Lake Stevens (5-0, 9-1) to only 5 points in the first part of the third quarter but only managed to score 4 points and wasn’t able to close the gap.

The first week back from the holiday break didn’t get any better on Friday, Jan. 5, when Jackson jumped out to a 23-8 first quarter lead en route to a 71-54 victory over the Marauders at Jackson High School. Clark led Mariner with 28 points and Hezekiah added 12.

The Marauders have rematches with Lake Stevens and Jackson at the end of the month.

“There’s a lot you can learn from a loss,” Gibb said. “We’ll come up with a game plan and prepare for the next time. We’ll learn from this. We’ll be better because of it.”

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