Now in her third season playing for the Lynnwood Royals, Aniya Hooker knows all about rivalry games. Clashes between teams within the Edmonds School District can bring bigger crowds and more intensity and, for Hooker, a deeper desire to excel.
Feeding off the atmosphere inside the Mountlake Terrace High School gymnasium Saturday night, Hooker scored a game-high 20 points and led the Royals to a 51-47 victory over the Mountlake Terrace Hawks in a key 3A Wesco League matchup.
With the win, Lynnwood lifted its league record to 10-3, 12-5 overall, good enough to place the Royals in a three-way tie for third place in the league standings. Mountlake Terrace, in a tight race with Monroe to see who will host a postseason District 1 tournament play-in game in early February, fell to 7-6 in league play, 10-8 overall.
Hooker easily recalled the results of the games between the Royals and the Hawks over the past two seasons. “It’s just a really competitive rivalry game,” she said. “They beat us my freshman year, then we won my sophomore year. So I think it’s just really competitive.”
The rivalry can be a little contentious, but Hooker admitted that she likes the fierceness of the battle. “I like the energy it brings from all the (fans) who showed up,” she said.
This year’s Royals-Hawks contest had a little more familiarity to it for Lynnwood Coach Eddie Mcferrin, who has during recent years coached at Brier Terrace Middle School — where many on the Mountlake Terrace roster played while in seventh and eighth grades.
“He (Coach Mcferrin) keeps saying that he knows all the (Mountlake Terrace) girls, so they tried to bring up the energy to beat us,” Hooker said. “But I think we handled it pretty well.”
The Royals started out slowly in Saturday’s contest, missing their first four shots from the field and falling behind 13-7 late in the first quarter. But Hooker wouldn’t let the Hawks run away with the game. She tallied 15 of her 20 points in the first half to help Lynnwood come back and take a 30-26 lead into halftime.
It was a lead the Royals wouldn’t relinquish in the second half.
The victory ended a brief two-game skid for Lynnwood. Hooker thinks recent defeats to Stanwood on Jan. 21 and Meadowdale on Jan. 25 actually helped prepare her Royals’ squad for their rivalry matchup against the Hawks.
“I think it (the two-game losing streak) really brought the team together,” she said. “We made adjustments we needed to and we came out with a win.”
Junior Kayla Lorenz contributed 13 points in the Lynnwood victory on Saturday.
Mountlake Terrace was led by the 16 points of Maya Davis; Mya Sheffield added 15 points in the loss.
Hawks’ Coach Nick Starks admitted his squad was on the short side of much of the play on Saturday night. “It’s kind of hard to win when you don’t get a chance at the free-throw line as much as the other team, turn the ball over more and you get outrebounded,” he said. “I think that was the difference tonight.”
The loss was a setback in the Hawks’ hopes of hosting a postseason District 1 tournament game in early February. With two games remaining in the regular season, Mountlake Terrace is ninth in the district’s RPI ranking, used to seed postseason play. Only the top eight teams in the RPI will host district tourney games.
Despite Saturday’s loss and the possibility of playing any postseason games away from home, Starks wasn’t too concerned for his Hawk squad.
“We’ll be all right,” he said.
Prep Girls Basketball: Lynnwood at Mountlake Terrace, Jan. 28
Lynnwood 13 17 11 10 – 51
Terrace 13 13 8 13 – 47
Lynnwood individual scoring: Aniya Hooker 20, Kayla Lorenz 13, Teyah Clark 9, Nyree Johnson 4, McKenzie Ruse-Martin 3, Eva Pereira 2, Mataya Canda, Jacelyn Tamayo
Mountlake Terrace individual scoring: Maya Davis 16, Mya Sheffield 15, Cameron Dunn 6, Maile Armstrong 3, Nicole Penner 3, Sierra Sonko 2, Ainslee Beach 2
Records: Lynnwood 10-3 in 3A Wesco League play, 12-5 overall; Mountlake Terrace 7-6, in 3A Wesco League play, 10-8 overall
Lynnwood next game: versus Cedarcrest; Wednesday, Feb. 1; 7:15 p.m. at Cedarcrest High School
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Shorecrest; Tuesday, Jan. 31; 7:15 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace High School
— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski
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