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Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — Sometimes a plan just comes together.
The Port Angeles Roughriders responded nicely after suffering their first league loss of the season earlier this week by soundly pounding Bremerton 61-41 Friday night in a battle between the Olympic League’s top two teams.
For the most part, the game went exactly how the Riders drew it up.
“It wasn’t what we were expecting [to win by this much], but it’s what we were hoping for,” Port Angeles coach Michael Poindexter said.
The Port Angeles defense dominated from the start, holding the Knights scoreless for more than four minutes to open the game.
Later in the first quarter, the offense went on a tear that put the game out of reach.
Madison Hinrichs and Macy Walker both nailed 3-pointers in the final minute of the opening quarter to give the Riders a 16-4 advantage.
The Riders then scored the first 12 points of the second quarter. By the time Bremerton’s Sawyer Kluge ended the run, Port Angeles led 28-6.
At halftime, the score was 33-9.
The plan was to slow down Kluge, the league’s top scorer who averages more than 20 points per game, and put the onus on the other Knights to win the game for Bremerton.
“We knew we weren’t going to hold her down tonight, but we wore her down,” Poindexter said.
“We had three different defenders on her; we had Maddy Hinrichs, Shayla Northern, we had Kylee Jeffers — they were the same three who defended her last time [when Kluge was held to 14 points on 3 for 24 shooting].
“We just got fresh legs against her all game long.”
Kluge finished with 21 points (“She worked hard for her 21,” Poindexter said) and Terra Driskel contributed 13, but only two other Knights scored in the game.
In the third quarter, Bremerton (10-2, 10-6) finally looked like a team that came into the game tied for first place.
The Knights outscored the Riders 21-10 in the quarter behind Kluge’s scoring, Driskell’s 3-point shooting and their specialty, rebounding.
“They’re the best rebounding team in the league, without a doubt,” Poindexter said.
“They’re a solid rebounding team, and I think that’s how they’ve won the [high] number of games.
“They’re scrappy, they’re active, they get after it, they don’t quit.”
However, the closest Bremerton came to Port Angeles was 11 points, and the Riders again controlled the fourth quarter.
“They had a nice third quarter, and they earned that,” Poindexter said of the Knights.
“But that fourth quarter was nice. We found ourselves again and got comfortable. I thought it was a very mature effort on our part.”
Unlike Bremerton, the Riders had a number of players contribute.
Hinrichs topped the team with 16 points, including a key bucket that broke the Knights’ 10-0 scoring run in the third quarter, and six steals.
As a team, Port Angeles racked up 27 steals, which accounted for all but 33 of Bremerton’s turnovers.
Walker, who leads the league in steals, had five and scored 14 points.
“The thing about Macy, she gets both hands in. She uses her [5-foot-4] height to her advantage, and she comes through and grabs the ball with two hands,” Poindexter said.
“She doesn’t swipe and swat, she reaches with both hands and grabs. It’s a very effective technique.”
Junior post Bailee Jones scored in double figures for the third time in four games with 10 points, and had six rebounds and four steals.
“I think Bailee Jones did some things tonight that were a big step for her personally,” Poindexter said.
“Bailee’s been progressing game by game by game, but I think this was a new level for her.
“Different kids progress at different parts of the season. It was this time last year that Mariah Frazier became a better player, and I think Bailee may be starting to take that next step.”
Krista Johnson had seven points and four assists to go along with her four steals; Frazier had eight points, six rebounds and two steals; and Northern and Kylee Jeffers both had four assists and three steals apiece.
The win was obviously big for the Riders — it essentially gives them a two-game lead in the league standings.
But they still have three games left.
“Our message was, basically, this [game] wasn’t for the league championship,” Poindexter said.
“We’ve got to go to Port Townsend, we’ve got to go to Olympic, and then we’ve got Sequim here. It’s a rivalry game, kids get tight, you never know [what will happen].”
Poindexter pointed out that the Wolves will have leading scorer Alexas Besand, who missed last month’s rivalry game due to injury, when Sequim (5-7, 7-9) and Port Angeles (12-1, 12-4) play Thursday.
Port Angeles 61, Bremerton 41
Bremerton 4 5 21 11— 41
Port Angeles 16 17 10 18— 61
Driskell 13, Kluge 21, Harpes 5, Jackson 2.
Port Angeles (61)
Frazier 8, Hinrichs 16, Northern 4, Walker 14, Johnson 7, Jones 10, Jeffers 2.