By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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It was Roughriders versus Roughriders.
On one side were Peninsula head coach Alison Crumb, assistant coach Danika Johnson and leading scorer Alison Knowles, all graduates of Port Angeles High School, and assistant coach Mike Knowles, the longtime former coach at Port Angeles.
On the other side, Mariah Frazier and Macy Walker, who played at Port Angeles High School, are in their first seasons playing for Olympic.
In the crowd at Peninsula College were family members, friends and former teammates of Walker and Frazier, some with divided loyalties.
“It was weird, but it was fun,” Walker said of playing in her hometown as an opposing player.
“It's crazy to see everybody and have them kind of cheering against us, sort of, but at the same time cheering for us.”
Olympic trailed 36-23 at halftime, but chipped a significant chunk out of Peninsula's lead in the second half before falling 64-48.
Frazier finished with 11 points and five rebounds.
Walker had two points, three assists and two steals. She admitted being nervous for the game.
“I kind of psyched myself out a little bit,” she said.
“It's like, 'Coming back to my hometown, I want to play well.'”
Walker played 36 minutes, while Frazier was limited to 24 minutes due first-half foul trouble.
Olympic coach Chloe Mosey uses a small rotation, so starters such as Walker and Frazier are counted on to play 35 to 40 minutes every game.
“It's fun because you get to play, but then sometimes you're just dying because you have nobody that can come in, or someone's in foul trouble,” Frazier said.
“Like our [double] overtime game [against Shoreline]; I played like 48 minutes, Macy played like 47 or something, and we were like dead. But it was really fun, we ended up winning.”
It was one of four wins this season for the Rangers, who are 4-11 on the season and 1-4 in NWAACC North Division play.
Taken in context, those are impressive records. Last season, Olympic was 0-24, and the women's team has averaged 4.5 wins over the previous seven seasons.
Although they were accustomed to winning league titles at Port Angeles, both Walker and Frazier have embraced being part of Olympic's rebuilding project.
“We've been losing by like five points, six points, getting really close, having really good games,” Frazier said.
“It's kind of fun, because we get to just make our own identity for ourselves.”
Said Walker, “It's hard going from a team like in high school, just beating everybody up by as many points as we can, and going to a team that's struggling to win. But it's also kind of fun being a part of the rebuilding. And if we do get our team to that [winning] level, then we'll be a part of what made it get there, and that will be cool.”
The Rangers even had a small winning streak at the Southwestern Oregon Crossover tournament last month, beating Everett and Treasure Valley on consecutive days.
Olympic placed fifth, and Walker was named to the all-tournament team.
“We got fifth place, and I guess that's the first award for O.C. women's basketball since like 2007 or something way far back,” Walker said.
“I don't know, I just kind of stepped up and I started playing more confidently and actually making shots. It was nice to win that award and have other people acknowledge that I was improving.”
Walker is averaging 6.4 points per game, 2.6 assists and a team-high 2.3 steals.
Frazier is third on the team in scoring, averaging 10 points per game, and third in rebounds at 5.4.
Playing together since before they were in high school has provided Frazier and Walker an on-court comfort level that has carried over to the college level.
“We can just give each other a look and she knows that I'm going to pass it to her or that I want her to shoot,” Frazier said.
On of the
Facing Peninsula on Saturday created a level of discomfort, though, as Walker and Frazier were facing the Knowles — Alison, a former teammate, and Mike, their former coach at Port Angeles High School.
“He coached us our freshman and sophomore years,” Walker said.
“He was really nice [Saturday]. It was weird, but it was good to see him.”
Meanwhile, they had to go against Alison Knowles, Peninsula's leading scorer who finished with a game-high 15 points, on the court.
“She's improved a lot, she's so much better now, and it was hard, but . . .” Walker said.
Frazier jumped in.
“But she's so nice,” Frazier said.
“Yeah, [we were] mad at her during the game, but not afterwards,” Walker said.
Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.