On the morning of playing in her first Class 3A state girls basketball championship game, Lynnwood’s Mikayla Pivec did not wake up in a cold sweat, or starting freaking out uncontrollably.
Her first thought?
What’s for breakfast?
It was pancakes and eggs.
And for dinner?
The two-time defending 3A champion Cleveland High Eagles.
In one of the finest individual performances seen in a state title game in a while, Pivec had 31 points and 17 rebounds, and thoroughly dominated the action as the top-ranked Royals dethroned No. 5 Cleveland, 54-42, on Saturday afternoon in the Tacoma Dome.
The junior forward single-handedly carried the mail in the first half, scoring the Royals’ first 12 points — and 22 of the team’s 25 in the half — as the Lynnwood guards mightily struggled to shoot against ultra-quick Jayde Christopher and company.
“Mikayla was a stud tonight,” Lynnwood coach Everett Edwards said. “She had our first 12 points … and we needed every one of those points. She got herself off to a great start, and had a great middle and a great finish.”
As good as Pivec was, Edwards knew that for the Royals (25-2) to trip up a charged Cleveland squad, the guards had to get going.
And Jordyn Edwards did, hitting two quick baskets in the first 2 minutes, 18 seconds of the second half. The second one broke a 29-29 tie.
“Personally, I struggled a little bit in the first half,” said the coach’s daughter, who scored Lynnwood’s first backcourt points 55 seconds into the second half. “I knew I needed to step up my defense a little more, and offensive keep taking open shots — and keeping a positive attitude.”
All the transition points the Eagles (19-9) were able to collect in the first half quickly disappeared. And after owning the fourth quarter in both the previous games, Cleveland could not get ignited — scoring just 11 points in the final 15 minutes.
“We were running the same offense, but trying to open it up for our shooters (Aqeelah Williams and Ryshel Sampson),” Christopher said. “It just didn’t work out. They were playing really good defense.
“A tough loss.”
Pivec never let the Eagles — who were vying to become the first school to win three consecutive 3A titles — off the mat.
To try and describe her style, she is an undersized power forward at 5-foot-10, but with the rebounding instinct and relentless nature of a Charles Barkley.
Joyce Harrell, the Boise State-bound center from Cleveland, said the Royals owed their 3A title to Pivec.
And after Jordyn Edwards and Danielle Hayes scored on jumpers to start the fourth quarter to give Lynnwood a 41-33 lead, Pivec did the rest. In three of four Royals’ possessions midway through the quarter, she sank two free throws, and had two putback baskets of Kelsey Rogers’ misses — the last giving her team a 48-36 advantage with 2:47 to go.
Pivec made 14 of her 20 shots from the floor, and played all 32 minutes.
“She is an amazing player,” Jordyn Edwards said. “I am so happy to have her as my teammate.”