GIRLS BASKETBALL: Port Townsend outduels rival Chimacum
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Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News
Port Townsend’s Jewel Johnson, center, drives past Chimacum’s Samantha Cerna (1) and Kiersten Snyder (5) during the final game of the Crush in the Slush tournament at Port Townsend High School.

By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — With players crashing to the court for loose balls and possession arrows solving 50-50 tie-ups playing an important role, Port Townsend won a hard-fought rivalry game over Chimacum.

The Redskins outscored the Cowboys 18-9 in the fourth quarter to win 47-38 in the final game of the Crush in the Slush tournament at Port Townsend High School on Saturday.

An inspired Chimacum team forced several early Redskins turnovers and ran out to a 6-0 lead with 6:26 left in the first after senior Lauren Thacker was fouled inside on a made basket and converted the free throw for a 3-point play.

Port Townsend answered with its own 7-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Megan Lee, for a 7-6 lead with 4:55 to play in the quarter.

The lead seesawed back and forth during the rest of the period, with Snyder hitting a 3 with 40 seconds left to give Chimacum an 11-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Both teams toned down the turnovers in the second quarter, Port Townsend going from 11 in the first to five in the second and Chimacum from eight to three, but each team struggled to score.

Chimacum scored five points in the quarter, capped by a Mechelle Nisbet basket that made it 16-9 with 2:10 to play. Nisbet led the Cowboys with 12 points in the game.

Port Townsend's Jayde Richardson answered that hoop by scoring the Redskins first points of the period with 1:50 to play in the quarter. She added another basket with 1:05 to play to cut Chimacum's lead to 16-13 at halftime. Richardson led all scorers with 15 points.

Port Townsend coach Randy Maag said the Redskins worked on their press break at halftime, but he focused more on telling his team to make sure “every rebound and every loose ball was ours.”

Redskins point guard Jewel Johnson banked home a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, cutting the Cowboys lead to 21-20 with 3 minutes to go in the third period.

Johnson, who “has been ill for about a week,” according to Maag, had 11 points on the night for Port Townsend and was effective in breaking Chimacum's defensive press throughout the contest.

“She really powered through for us,” Maag said of Johnson.

Snyder answered Johnson's trey with a 3 of her own on the next possession before a 7-0 Redskins run on two-point baskets by Patricia Reeves and Richardson and another Johnson 3 put Port Townsend in the lead 27-24 with 50 seconds to go in the third.

Nisbet hit a bucket while being fouled with 12 seconds left and converted the foul shot for a 29-29 tie entering the fourth quarter.

Reeves gave Port Townsend the first lead of the fourth a minute into the quarter on an inside basket for a 31-29 lead.

A few possessions later, Reeves' cross-court press-breaking pass was stolen by Snyder, who took the ball down the floor and was fouled by Reeves while converting a layup.

She missed the foul shot, but it was the 5-foot-10 Reeves' fifth foul, which was a big blow to Port Townsend's post presence, and the Redskins' lead was cut to 33-31 with 5:42 remaining in the game.

Senior reserve Rosie Gitelman entered the game for Port Townsend and sank a big jumper to give the Redskins a 36-31 lead with 3:50 to play.

“Rosie gets my game ball,” Maag said.

“That's the first significant minutes she has played all year and she came in and gave us a big basket and four or five rebounds, and I am really proud of her effort tonight.

“I was a little surprised Chimacum didn't go into a zone defense, which I thought helped us because we were able to spread them out and find seams in the defense and pick up fouls,” Maag said.

“They [Chimacum] also looked a little tired at the end to me.”

The Cowboys had been whistled for more fouls in the second half and it caught up with them in the fourth quarter, as Port Townsend's final nine points came from the free-throw line.

Rilke Rutenbeck hit four of those free throws to clinch the win for the Redskins.

“I'm not disappointed in the effort,” Chimacum coach Trevor Huntingford said.

“There have been times this year where I have been, but this was not one of them.”

Huntingford added that beating their rivals was important to his players.

“They wanted this one pretty badly, above all others,” he said.

Huntingford thinks some internal tension on how to close out games hindered his team in the fourth quarter.

“We ran into this late last year; when you are having a losing season and just on the verge of turning the corner,” Huntingford said, “and it's late in a close game and the focus in the huddle is on to not lose.

“I could feel a little of that in us tonight, but there is another part of me that says when you give up about 12 points on banked in shots that aren't meant to be banked in shots, sometimes there's a little luck involved.”

Port Townsend 47, Chimacum 38

Chimacum 11 5 13 9— 38

Port Townsend 9 4 16 18— 47

Individual scoring

Chimacum (0-7)

M. Nisbet 12, Snyder 11, L. Thacker 7, A. Thacker 5, Dukek 2, Nordberg 1.

Port Townsend (4-5)

Richardson 15, Johnson 11, Rutenbeck 6, Reeves 6, Olin 4, Lee 2, Gitelman 2.

Last modified: December 29. 2013 6:38PM
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