Lynnwood’s Jasmin Edwards and Grace Douglas know each other pretty well on and off the court.
As well as two people who started playing basketball in the first grade together and who were involved in each other’s lives on a regular basis since then.
The two senior standouts are preparing to wrap up the final chapter of one aspect of their lives, as they lead the Royals into the Class 4A state tournament this week.
Lynnwood takes on Kentwood at 9 a.m., Thursday, March 6, in a quarterfinal matchup at the Tacoma Dome.The game will be broadcast live on the Sound Live Sports Network.
As focused as Edwards and Douglas are on basketball, thoughts of the future and the end of their time together as teammates are unavoidable.
“It’s sad,” said Edwards, who will continue her basketball career at Central Washington. “It still hasn’t hit yet because we’ve been seeing each other almost every day forever. So that’ll be a really big change.”
Douglas hasn’t finalized her college plans but is strongly leaning toward George Fox University in Oregon and also hasn’t decided if she wants to pursue basketball in college.
Lynnwood wrapped up practices at the high school this week and that caused Douglas to pause and contemplate the future.
Douglas noted that no matter what happens this week their high school basketball careers are over.
“In the past if we kept winning, we’d keep playing,” Douglas said. “Then we lost and we stopped. Now we’re still winning and getting to the Tacoma Dome, everything we’ve ever looked forward to getting.
“We kind of realized that it ends this weekend, even if we keep winning. It’s going to be over. It’s really tough and we have thought a lot about it. We’re always going to be close and we already have a lot of summer plans together.”
The state basketball tournament was the last thing on the minds of Edwards and Douglas when they found themselves on a first grade team at the Alderwood Boys and Girls Club.
Dave Douglas, Grace’s father and Lynnwood’s junior varsity/assistant coach, was the coach of that team.
“We were just running around, trying to figure it out and have fun,” Edwards said. “But ever since then Grace and I have been going to the same middle school, high school and playing on the same team. That kind of started the friendship.
“We started off as teammates, but we instantly became friends.”
At the time, Douglas remembers Edwards as being the tallest player on the team.
“She was the taller one and she was getting boards,” Douglas said. “Everyone else hadn’t really caught up to her in height. … She was our big.”
Though she still crashes the boards, Edwards, at 5-foot-5, is the team’s point guard.
The two families took videos of that first season of basketball.
“It’s really funny,” Edwards said. “But it was just a great experience. I’m glad it got me started, got me familiar with the sport and eventually I fell in love with it.”
Douglas switched elementary schools due to some border changes but her friendship with Edwards continued through sports. The two played softball and volleyball at the Alderwood Boys and Girls Club and then joined the same AAU basketball team in the fourth grade.
It was a big deal when the two started going to the same middle school.
“We just kind of stuck together through all the different sports,” Douglas said. “We were super excited that we were able to be at school together. We weathered the storm of middle school and high school together.”
The Edwards and Douglas families also are close.
“It’s a fun dynamic,” Douglas said. “Both our moms are close. Our dads are close friends and coached together.”
Added Edwards, “We both have siblings who also are friends. We are all great family friends.”
Lynnwood head coach Everett Edwards, Jasmin’s father, helped coach Douglas and Edwards as they were growing up. The mix of having her father, her friend and her friend’s father involved in basketball turned out to be a blessing through the years, Douglas said.
“It’s been a big advantage having these friends and family surrounding you all the time and supporting you,” Douglas said. “You feel comfortable playing, knowing that someone really knows you.”
Story and photo by David Pan/Lynnwood Today editor