By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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That was again the case in the Roughriders' 76-32 drubbing of the Vikings that puts Port Angeles one win away from clinching a second consecutive Olympic League championship.
The Riders (12-1, 14-3) will have their first shot at securing that title Friday at Bremerton (5-7, 6-8).
“It was pretty big, because North Kitsap always brings their game,” Port Angeles point guard Maddy Hinrichs said of Tuesday's win
“We were ready and we had a great game. That's our best game of the season.”
The Vikings (7-5, 10-6) and Riders were the league favorites entering the season.
North Kitsap went through a rough stretch while senior Kristin Brown was sidelined with an injury. She returned last week, so the Vikings were at full strength Tuesday.
“I think that was our best effort of the year,” Port Angeles coach Michael Poindexter said.
“I think we played pretty well at Burlington-Edison and I think we played pretty well against Olympic here [at home], but that's probably the best all-around effort we've had in a game all year.”
Coming into the game, the Riders' goal was to hold North Kitsap's top three players — Brown, Rebekah Baugh and Molly Lemmon — to 30 points. The trio finished with 21 (Baugh had 10, Brown had seven and Lemmon scored four).
“We've held Rebekah Baugh — she's averaging 17 or 18 a game — we've held her to 13 in two games,” Poindexter said.
“That's Hinrichs and [Maddie] Boe, mostly. And it's team help
“Kylee Jeffers guards Kristin Brown a lot, and that's Kylee's deal. So we have defenders who take a great deal of pride in playing defense against North K.”
The Riders also forced 30 turnovers while committing only nine. Hinrichs and Bailee Jones led Port Angeles with four steals apiece.
Barring an unlikely postseason matchup, Tuesday was the final showdown between standout point guards Hinrichs and Baugh.
“I'm going to miss it. They've gone at it three years in a row,” Poindexter said.
“Maddy just has a personal mission to do that. And Rebekah does, too.
“It's a team game, but I think there's a respect in terms of talent.”
Hinrichs said matching up against a player of Baugh's caliber provides extra motivation.
“Yeah, it definitely does. I don't know, I just like playing tough people,” the senior said.
Along with her defense, Hinrichs scored a game-high 24 points, with 15 of those points coming in the second half.
“The night's Maddy's guarding Rebekah, we expect an offensive drop-off from her, a little bit,” Poindexter said.
“Sometimes she loses her legs when she's guarding Baugh. Not tonight.”
Krista Johnson had the hot hand early for Port Angeles, scoring 10 points in the first quarter and 13 of her 17 points in the first half before sitting out the fourth quarter.
“Johnson had a nice game,” Poindexter said. “I thought Krista really got us started well.”
Port Angeles had 72 field-goal attempts to North Kitsap's 42. That disparity is due to the turnover margin and the Riders' 16-5 offensive rebound advantage.
Jeffers led Port Angeles with eight rebounds and Brittany Norberg grabbed seven.
When the Riders shot the ball, they usually had good looks at the hoop thanks to the ball movement and passing.
“I thought it was very unselfish on the part of everybody,” Poindexter said.
“It was give the ball up, give the ball up. It's a very unselfish team, and tonight showed that.”
Johnson dished out a team-high five assists and Jeffers had four.
That passing opened up shots not only for Hinrichs and Johnson, but for others such as Lenora Hofer, with came of the bench to score nine points.
“Lenora did a great job, and that was not out of her head, that was very much in character,” Poindexter said.
“The nice thing about Lenora is she's never in a hurry offensively. She just takes her time and looks at the territory. And she's got a nice shooting touch inside.”
Port Angeles 76, North Kitsap 32
North Kitsap 6 12 11 3— 32
Port Angeles 19 17 19 21— 76
North Kitsap (7-5, 10-6)
Lemmon 4, Hamblet 5, Brown 7, Baugh 10, Snyder 2, Selembo 2, Krol 2.
Port Angeles (12-1, 14-3)
Boe 2, Hofer 9, Hinrichs 24, Jones 6, Baxley 6, Norberg 1, Johnson 17, Jeffers 4, Wheeler 7.
Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at email@example.com.