By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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The Sequim boys beat the Roughriders 63-55 behind 23 points from Alex Barry.
In the girls game, Port Angeles girls took over the last 11 minutes to pull away from Sequim for a 62-41 win.
The battle of the Olympic League's top two girls teams was even throughout the first half and most of the third quarter.
The game was tied 22-22 at half and Sequim pulled within two points, 31-29, on a 3-pointer from Caitlin Stofferahn with 2:40 to play in the third.
Then experience took over.
Port Angeles seniors Maddy Hinrichs, Bailee Jones, Krista Johnson and Kylee Jeffers, playing Sequim at home for the last time, led the Riders on a 31-12 run to close out the game.
“The stability and the emotional and mental maturity I think really paid off for us,” Riders coach Michael Poindexter said after Friday's game.
“We weren't sobbing because we were tied at half. We were like, 'OK, they're playing pretty well.' It wasn't a big deal. Nobody got yelled at.
“They were playing well, we knew they were playing well. Let's go play.
“Although, the second half didn't surprise us, either.”
Port Angeles was able to feed Bailee Jones in the post consistently, and Jones finished with 15 points, tied for the game-high with Hinrichs.
“Bailee Jones had a great game. We're finally starting to get her the ball more. And she's been working hard,” Poindexter said. “We don't always get her the ball. Now a couple of games, Bremerton and here, we have, and you saw the result.
“She had a fantastic game.”
The Riders also left their man-to-man comfort zone and changed to a 2-3 zone defense.
“We switched up our defense and we had a lot of aggressive steals, so I think we got the momentum that we needed for our offensive play,” Johnson said.
At the top of the zone, Johnson and Hinrichs made a number of steals that led to easy buckets.
“Krista's got a gift, that hand-eye coordination in that zone,” Poindexter said.
“She got steals in a 2-3 zone from the top where you really shouldn't. But, she does. She reads people well.”
Sequim coach Evan Still said the Wolves were actually hoping Port Angeles would play zone, because it would open up their outside shooters.
But when the Riders did, Sequim made too many mistakes.
“Our point guards would start dribbling down and getting too deep and then trying to make a pass and cause a lot of turnovers. We had eight turnovers in the fourth quarter, and most of those were up top and they led to layups,” Still said.
“That killed us. And we usually don't do that.
“Don't know if it was the atmosphere, you know a lot of our girls haven't really played in an atmosphere like this where it means a lot — and that game meant a lot — and I think that got to us a bit.”
McKenzie Bentz led the Wolves with 10 points, and Alexas Besand and Caitlin Stofferahn added seven apiece.
Poindexter said Sequim, which hasn't beat Port Angeles since 2007, has made a significant improvement in Still's second year as head coach.
“It's obvious they're better,” Poindexter said.
“They had a great first half. That was legit. That wasn't so much we're playing badly as they're playing well. They did a good job.”
Sequim's loss drops the Wolves to 5-2 in Olympic League play (5-6 overall), and gives Port Angeles (7-0, 9-2) a two-game lead over the trio of second-place teams that includes Olympic, Kingston and Sequim.
North Kitsap dropped to 4-3 in league play with a 63-61 loss in double overtime to Kingston.
Both the Wolves and Riders return to action Monday when Sequim hosts Bremerton (2-5, 3-6) and Port Angeles plays at Port Townsend (3-4, 6-5).
Port Angeles 62, Sequim 41
Sequim 8 14 7 12— 41
Port Angeles 12 10 15 25— 62
Sequim (5-2, 5-6)
McKenzie Bentz 10, Alexas Besand 7, Caitlin Stofferahn 7, Elise Beuke 5, Melanie Guan 3, Jordan Miller 3, Hailey Lester 4, Vanessa Martinez 2.
Port Angeles (7-0, 9-2)
Maddy Hinrichs 15, Bailee Jones 15, Krista Johnson 14, Kylee Jeffers 6, Payton Lee 4, Nizhoni Wheeler 4, Hayley Baxley 2, Brittany Norberg 2.
Sequim 63, Port Angeles 55
PORT ANGELES — After a back-and-forth first half, the Wolves pulled away from the Roughriders in the second half to set up a one-versus-two Olympic League showdown with Bremerton on Monday.
Sequim beat Port Angeles for the fifth consecutive time by avoiding the full-court chaos the Riders aim to create.
“We played our game. We didn't let them force us into their game, so we were able to go with the tempo we wanted,” Sequim point guard Anthony Pinza said.
“And the fast-paced game was good for us, too. We can play both ways, so chaotic or not, we'll be good.”
After Friday's win, Wolves coach Greg Glasser, with his tie removed his tie and his shirt partially untucked, expressed relief and compared facing Port Angeles to playing a loser-out postseason game.
“I was really concerned about the pressure and how we would handle it,” Glasser said.
“I thought our guys did a pretty good job. You've really got to give a lot of credit to Anthony Pinza. [He] was able to get around their guys and create a lot of opportunities down the court for our guys.
“I can only remember two shots that were taken tonight that were a little quick, a little early.
“Our guys . . . play so well together and they understand the game well enough to have that patience.”
Port Angeles led 12-11 after one quarter before Pinza opened the second period with a long 3-pointer for his only points of the game. He also dished out eight assists.
Alex Barry followed with another 3-pointer as the Wolves scored nine straight points to take a 20-12 lead. It was one of four treys for Barry, which included a few from well beyond the 3-point line, who also had 10 rebounds.
Hayden Gunderson responded with a jumper and a 3-pointer for Port Angeles. Then Lambros Rogers hooked up with Steven Lauderbeck for a bucket and Cameron Burns followed a Gunderson miss to finish the Riders' 9-0 run and put them ahead 21-20.
Sequim led 31-26 at halftime, but added 10 points to its advantage by scoring 18 points in the third quarter and holding the Riders to eight.
“We got complacent in the second half, even late in the second quarter, to just jack 3s up. We shot a lot more 3s than we normally would,” Port Angeles coach Brent Stephens said.
“But it's tough as a 17-year-old kid, when you continually attack the basket and you're getting contact and the whistle's not getting blown, it's tough to keep going in there.
“So when the whistle's not going to get blown, our kids got a little passive.
“But we didn't to do what we need to do. We didn't shoot the ball well, we didn't shoot free throws well, we couldn't throw a rock in an ocean tonight.
“And they're a big team, so they're not going to give you a whole lot of opportunities.”
Sequim's lead grew to as many as 20 points before the Riders closed the game with an 11-0 garbage-time run.
Port Angeles falls to 4-3 in league play (6-5 overall) and into a four-way tie for third place in the Olympic League with Olympic, Kingston and North Kitsap.
“They're a scary team because they're so aggressive, and they're athletic and they're big,” Glasser said of the Riders.
“Coach Stephens is doing a really good job with them. They're in the second year in this system that he has, and so I could see them just continuing to get better.”
Derek Schumacher led the Riders with 15 points. Hunter Hathaway contributed 11, and Hayden Gunderson and Steven Lauderback had 10 each.
Port Angeles hosts Port Townsend (2-5, 4-6) on Monday before going on the road to face Olympic on Wednesday and North Mason on Friday.
“We're looking for a fresh new start. We're going to just put this one past us and be ready to go,” Stephens said.
“We tanked today, we didn't play real well, so we've got to be ready to go Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”
Sequim (6-1, 8-3), meanwhile, sits in second place in the league, and will continue a tough stretch of four straight road games against first-place Bremerton (7-0, 8-2) on Monday.
The Wolves follow that with trips to Port Townsend and Olympic on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
Sequim 63, Port Angeles 55
Sequim 11 20 18 14— 63
Port Angeles 12 14 8 21— 55
Sequim (6-1, 8-3)
Anthony Pinza 3, Jesse Francis 2, Alex Barry 23, Vance Willis 11, Rory Kallappa 10, Erik Christensen 6, George Johnson 8.
Port Angeles (4-3, 6-5)
Hayden Gunderson 10, Logan Ciaciuch 2, Steven Lauderback 10, Hunter Hathaway 11, Cameron Burns 5, Derek Schumacher 15, Connor Heilman 2.