By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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An inspired minute of play led by a Hunter Hathaway scoring flurry helped Port Angeles close the third quarter with a 10-0 run on its way to an eventual 63-57 win Tuesday night.
Mental lapses coupled with an inability to execute a new form of defensive pressure helped Kingston pull within five, 62-57, with the basketball with 30 seconds to go in the game.
“I thought we did a good job for about 3½ quarters and then we got up about 17 and tried to run a new press, add a new wrinkle that we have been working on, and it's kind of my fault because it took us out of what we were trying to accomplish,” Port Angeles coach Brent Stephens said.
“There were also some mental breakdowns on our end and we've got to do a better job there.”
The win helped the Riders (7-4, 9-6) avenge an early-season road loss and move past the Buccaneers (6-5, 6-9) in the standings, while keeping pace with Olympic (7-4, 9-6) and North Kitsap (6-4, 9-5), who both won Tuesday, in the battle for the Olympic League's third and fourth-place slots in the Class 2A West Central District Tournament.
After spotting Kingston the first three points of the game, Port Angeles reeled off an impressive 18-0 run over the final 6:05 of the first quarter to lead 18-3.
The two teams played evenly in the second quarter, with the Riders' highlight a Derek Schumacher steal of Kingston point guard Cole Rabedeaux at halfcourt with less than 10 seconds to play.
Schumacher was fouled on the run-out layup attempt but hit his free throws for a 30-16 Port Angeles lead at halftime.
“I think we killed them on the boards today and got after loose balls, they were on the floor and were working hard, too, but from an intensity standpoint we took them out of their game,” Stephens said.
Timely 3-point shooting and an inability by Port Angeles to hit free throws helped Kingston hang around in the third quarter.
The Riders missed 3 of 4 free throws awarded after two third-quarter technical fouls were called against the Bucs.
Kingston head coach Ben Wisniewski was whistled for a technical for pleading for a traveling violation at a particularly quiet moment in the Port Angeles gym with 5:39 to play.
Kingston senior Mitchell Sagdahl was called for an intentional foul after scrapping for a rebound with Riders sophomore Cameron Burns with 3:38 to go in the third and Port Angeles leading 39-28.
The Buccaneers inched closer, pulling to within 44-37 with 1:40 to play before Hathaway helped save the day with eight consecutive Riders points.
He scored on a left-corner trey with 1:30 to go and knocked in another basket while being fouled after Burns forced a steal at halfcourt. He missed his subsequent free-throw attempt but corralled the rebound, and netted two more while being fouled once again, this time hitting from the line.
Hathaway wasn't finished, stealing the ball from the Bucs on the ensuing possession and finding Burns for another layup and a 54-37 lead, the Riders largest of the game, entering the fourth quarter.
“That's what we've kind of leaned on Hunter for all year,” Stephens said.
“He has the potential to go on a burst at any given time, and he's been very focused the last few days in taking us to another level.”
Hathaway led all scorers with 21 points and Burns added a career-high 10 points for Port Angeles.
With Port Angeles leading 56-40 with 4:52 to play, Brady Konopaski was hauled down around the neck on a layup attempt, earning the second intentional foul for Sagdahl, and an automatic ejection from the contest.
Sagdahl will miss Friday's Kingston-Sequim game as a result of the ejection.
Konopaski earned a technical in the aftermath after trying to calm down his teammate, Burns, who objected to seeing his point guard knocked to the floor.
“We didn't maintain our composure very well, but I'd rather us err on that side because we showed some camaraderie and protected ourselves a little bit and that's big for us,” Stephens said.
Kingston seemed to get a charge out of the play and went on a 17-5 run to make it 62-57 with 30 seconds left.
The Bucs were led by junior Miles Sustad's 18 points and received 16 from Cole Rabedeaux.
After a strong game, sophomore Lambros Rogers made a mistake at a bad time, as he was careless with his inbounds pass underneath the Riders basket and gave Kingston a chance to make it a one-possession game.
Instead of going right back up at the rim, Kingston passed out behind the 3-point line before a turnover on the perimeter by Collin Veilleux with 14.5 seconds to go.
Port Angeles hosts Klahowya (0-10, 1-12) on Friday.
Port Angeles 63, Kingston 57
Kingston 3 13 21 20— 57
Port Angeles 18 12 24 9— 63
Sustad 18, C. Rabedeaux 16, Veilleux 10, Carlton 5, Barrett 4, Chiquiti 2,
Port Angeles (63)
Hathaway 21, Burns 10, Schumacher 7, Heilman 6, Rogers 6, Lauderback 5, Polly 4, Isett 2, Gunderson 1, Konopaski 1.