By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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After what Cowboys coach Jim Eldridge called an “out-of-sync performance” in their last game, a home loss to Life Christian, Eldridge told his players, “I shouldn't have to coach effort; it should come automatically from you guys, and if I have to coach that we are going backwards.”
“Tonight we had that effort,” Eldridge said after Friday's win over Port Townsend. “There were a few lapses here and there, but for the most part, that's all you can ask for.”
Chimacum (1-5) looked up to the task in the early going of the Crush in the Slush nightcap, jumping to a 7-0 lead and quieting the spirited Redskins crowd.
Then Port Townsend's Cody Russell stepped in front of a pass at the top of the Cowboys' 3-point line and raced down the court for an impressive two-hand slam dunk with 5:40 to play in the first quarter.
Port Townsend (2-5) used the momentum from that dunk to go on a 20-2 run, paced by two 3-pointers by Sean Dwyer, over 6:30 of the first and second quarters.
Chimacum's Quinn Dowling ended the run with a 3-pointer with 7:15 left in the half that cut Port Townsend's lead to 20-12.
The Cowboys pulled within two, 22-20 on a 3 from sophomore Christopher Bainbridge with 3:09 left in the quarter, and tied it at 22-all after a steal and layup by 5-foot-5 junior Victor Hitt.
At halftime, the score was even at 26-26.
“In the second quarter, we quit sharing the ball and had a pretty bad stretch of about six shots when we had the lead and gave them the momentum going into halftime,” Port Townsend coach Tom Webster said.
“When you have a team down like that you have to take advantage and we didn't.”
Paul Spaltenstein was a force on the inside for Port Townsend in the third quarter, scoring 11 of his game-high 25 points, including four consecutive baskets to give the Redskins a 37-31 lead with 3:12 left in the quarter.
Chimacum trimmed the lead down after two free throws from sophomore Samuel Golden, another Bainbridge 3 pointer and a basket by Brendon Naylor.
The Cowboys briefly took the lead 42-41 on a Dowling jumper with 15 seconds to play before Spaltenstein beat the buzzer with a layup to give the Redskins a 43-42 advantage after three quarters.
Chimacum kept coming, firing and hitting shots to open the fourth quarter, with Port Townsend losing the lead on a 3-ball from Hitt with 6:15 remaining to put the Cowboys up 47-45.
Spaltenstein tied it up on the next trip down before two consecutive 3-pointers by John Carthum put the Cowboys ahead 53-47 with 5:15 to play.
Dwyer cut the lead in half for the Redskins, answering back with his third of four 3-balls, to pull Port Townsend to 53-50.
Chimacum then went on an 8-0 run over the next 2:35 to take a 61-50 lead with 2:15 remaining.
“If we can get both aspects of our game going, inside and outside play, I think we can compete,” Eldridge said of the Cowboys.
The Redskins pulled within six points, 61-56, with 1:30 left after a layup and foul shot by Jacob King and a two-pointer from Spaltenstein.
Needing to extend the game, Port Townsend started intentionally fouling Chimacum, who hit 9 of 12 from the foul line down the stretch to ice the game.
Naylor was nails from the line in the final minute, hitting 4 of 4, with Dowling going 2 for 2 and Carthum 4 for 5.
Carthum lead a balanced Chimacum offense with 16 points. Naylor, Weller and Dowling each had nine and James Porter added eight.
“All credit to Chimacum, they did their job, Webster said.
“They hit a ton of shots and hit their free throws at the end ,and we will get them again in a couple of weeks for the Widge Black Trophy.”
Port Townsend and Chimacum meet again Thursday, Jan. 9.
Chimacum 70, Port Townsend 64
Chimacum 9 17 16 28— 70
Port Townsend 18 8 17 21— 64
Carthum 16, Naylor 9, Weller 9, Dowling 9, Porter 8, Hitt 7, Bainbridge 6, Dotson 4.
Port Townsend (2-5)
Spaltenstein 25, Dwyer 16, Russel 10, King 5, Delagarza 4, Adkins 4.