While the official team colors are Vegas gold and black, you can add green to the spectrum of the Lynnwood Royals girls basketball team this season — green as in a traffic light telling you to move ahead. For the Royals, that means to be aggressive offensively, go ahead and take that shot and — more times than not this year — come out victorious.
Lynnwood did just that Saturday with five players combining for nine 3-pointers to drive their way to a 54-45 win over the Everett Seagulls in a District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament quarterfinal contest at Lynnwood High School.
The victory propelled the no. 4-seeded Royals into a District tourney semifinal game against no. 1-seed Arlington Wednesday, Feb. 14, at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
The Royals overcame a slow start Saturday to charge past the Seagulls, outscoring the visitors 15-7 in the second quarter to grab a lead they would never relinquish.
Senior Mayata Canda was at the forefront among the Royals sharpshooters with three long-range bombs in the game, two of which came in back-to-back possessions midway through the second quarter. Canda’s two 3-pointers were a decisive momentum changer for her and her Lynnwood teammates.
“It felt really good to know that I’m doing something for my team, whether it’s defensively or offensively,” Canda said following the win. “And I love putting up points on the board for my team, especially when it’s close and it just gives our team hope … It felt really good.”
The Royals closed out the second quarter on a 10-1 run and held a 24-18 advantage over Everett at halftime. Lynnwood led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter before the Seagulls were able to climb back to within three points, 45-42, with 5:24 to go in the game. But late-game 3-pointers by the Royals’ Aniya Hooker and Dina Yonas put the brakes on any Seagulls’ comeback victory hopes.
In addition to Canda, Hooker and Dodik, both Teyah Clark and Nyree Johnson hit shots from behind the 3-point arc in the Lynnwood win. Canda explained that she — and everyone else on the team — has the go ahead from Coach Eddie Mcferrin to shoot from nearly anywhere on the court and at any time.
“He always says at practice I have a green light, like all of our teammates,” Canda said. “He never really tells us we have a red light or to stop shooting. Nobody can’t shoot; we all have the opportunity to put points on the board.”
“We do a lot of shooting at practice,” Canda continued. “When you think of Lynnwood, you think of a shooting team. That’s definitely something special about our team.”
Hooker shot her way to a game-high 23 points on Saturday. Canda expressed how she has loved playing with Hooker over the years, from elementary school feeder teams through now, their senior year at Lynnwood.
“Aniya’s a great leader and role model,” Canda said. “I’ve been playing with Aniya since fifth grade so we have a lot of chemistry on the court. And I think with my voice out there and her voice we can go a long way.”
Everett (14-8 overall) was led by the 19 points of Mae Washington as the senior had to carry most of the offensive load for the Seagulls. Her twin sister and fellow scorer Alana was unavailable for Saturday’s contest due to injury.
The Royals (14-7 overall) were also without one of their key players on Saturday as Kayla Lorenz remains inactive with a broken left thumb. The senior is scheduled to have the cast on her thumb removed soon after the District tournament is over but prior to the start of the regional round of the state tournament that begins on Feb. 23.
Saturday’s Lynnwood-Everett game was ended by officials — and insisted upon by Everett Coach Darrell McNeal — with 35.6 seconds remaining in the contest after Everett senior Mylie Wugumgeg collapsed at midcourt following a collision with another player. The gym was cleared of all players and spectators as Everett Athletic Trainer Kaelah Knight — along with others — cared for Wugumgeg. After regaining consciousness, the senior was transported by South County Fire paramedics to a local medical facility for further evaluation.
“Our students and any students visiting our schools, their safety and health is always our number-one priority,” said Edmonds School District Athletic Director Angie McGuire following the incident. “So if we have to end a game … with 35 seconds on the clock to make sure that a student is safe and healthy, we’re going to do that.”
To view the entire District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament bracket, click www.wpanetwork.com/wiaa/brackets/tournament.php?act=view&tournament_id4235.
Prep Girls Basketball: Everett at Lynnwood, Feb. 10 (District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game)
Everett 11 7 10 17 – 45
Lynnwood 9 15 19 11 – 54
Lynnwood individual scoring: Aniya Hooker 23, Mataya Canda 9, Teyah Clark 9, Dina Yonas 6, Ena Dodik 4, Nyree Johnson 3
Everett individual scoring: Alana Washington 19, Emily Barton 11, Mylie Wugumgeg 7, Lanie Thompson 4, Selena Espinoza 3, Tatum Smith 1, Bella Nguon, Haylie Oyler
Records: Lynnwood 14-7 overall; Everett 14-8 overall
Lynnwood next game: versus Arlington, Wednesday, Feb. 14; 7 p.m. at Marysville-Pilchuck High School (District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament semifinal game)
— By Doug Petrowski