Mavericks hope to build on last season’s success | Girls basketball

Four seniors return from playoff squad
By David Pan | Aug 01, 2019
Photo by: David R Pan Meadowdale junior center Fatoumata Jaiteh posts up during an Edmonds Shootout tournament game earlier this summer at Meadowdale High School.

As disappointed as Meadowdale was following a 1-point loss to West Seattle in the state regional tournament, the Mavericks also felt a sense of accomplishment at their first state appearance in 10 years.

Coach Arie Mahler declared that Meadowdale was back on the map as far as the postseason conversation was concerned.

Mahler was interested to see how his players responded to last season’s success. The Mavericks played in three tournaments – Snohomish, Edmonds and King’s – and also held several practices this summer.

“Summer ball can be hard,” Mahler said. “The games and the standings don’t mean anything. I wanted to see how hungry they are to get better when the games don’t mean anything.”

Mahler noted that the close state regional loss still was providing motivation to the players and that he saw that hunger to improve he was hoping to see.

“There’s a different mentality this year,” Mahler added. “The girls are definitely more confident in terms of realizing they can play with the better teams in Wesco and in other conferences. … I was very pleased with the leadership my seniors are exhibiting already stemming from last year’s success. We have a different maturity level this year that I’m very happy to see.”

Seniors Lilly Williams, Soriah Swinton, Alicia Morrison and Maia Austvold are joined by juniors Kaisha Stark and Fatoumata Jaiteh to form what should be one of the more experienced and talented teams in the Wesco 3A.

Williams, who set a school record with eight 3-point shots against Marysville-Pilchuck, is providing valuable leadership.

“She is definitely going to help keep the girls focused,” Mahler said. “She’s driven. I know she wants to go out her last year and would love to see us not only return to state but get to the (Tacoma) Dome and place. I think that’s definitely a big goal of her.”

Jaiteh emerged as an offensive force in the middle during her sophomore season. Mahler expects her to be even more difficult for the opposition to defend.

“What I’ve noticed this summer is that she just continues to enhance her back-to-the-basket, low-post game,” he said. “She is looking to at least make her mid-range shot a threat. That’s definitely in her tool box.”

Swinton will continue to run the offense as point guard along with Stark. Swinton operates with pass-first mentality, while Stark, also an adept passer, is a strong scoring threat.

“We’ll have two different players operating at the point,” Mahler said. “We definitely have some players who have the potential to make varsity and could see some time at that point guard position.”

Mahler was impressed by the play of the Mavericks’ incoming freshman class.

“We’ve got some really solid players coming in that have some very bright futures,” he said.

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