GIRLS BASKETBALL: Port Angeles ready for state opener
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Amylynn Richards/for Peninsula Daily News
Port Angeles’ Kylee Jeffers (34) and Nizhoni Wheeler (44) battle Burlington-Edison’s Emily Agen for control of a errant pass by Burlington-Edison during the Roughriders’ 54-46 regionals win last week at Mount Vernon High School. The Riders open the state tournament today against Lynden at the Yakima SunDome.

By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News

YAKIMA — The Port Angeles girls basketball team wrapped its final home practice of the season Tuesday with one of coach Michael Poindexter's favorite traditions.

Roughriders players and their coaches gathered together around the center court circle in order to say goodbye to the Port Angeles High School gym for the final time this year in advance of their trip to the Class 2A state tournament at the Yakima SunDome.

Port Angeles hopes to bid a fond farewell to the Yakima Valley on Saturday, with a state trophy in hand.

A state placing would be the first such achievement since the 2000-01 Roughriders girls finished 26-3 and took fifth at the 4A tourney.

In today's opener, Port Angeles needs to avoid repeating history in their quarterfinal matchup with the Lynden Lions.

Lynden, one of the more storied programs in Washington high school hoops, has beaten the Roughriders in the opening game the last two times Port Angeles has advanced to state.

This includes a 46-43 overtime loss for the 2011-12 Riders, a defeat that Poindexter said sapped the team's energy and led to a quick exit.

The Lions offer a tall test, with seven of their 12 players listed as 5-foot-8 or taller, including leading scorers Elisa Kooiman, a 5-10 freshman who scores 14.2 per game, and Stephanie Somers, a 5-11 senior who knocks in 12.7 per game.

“They have perimeter players that are as tall as our posts,” Poindexter said.

Despite their height, Kooiman and Somers are listed as guards.

“They have kids who can drive and take it to the rim, they have kids who can hit from outside and they play very good defense,” Poindexter said.

“I would say their rebounding and physicality will be the biggest challenge for us.”

He said Port Angeles is going to need to keep the game at a low-scoring pace, with a final score somewhere in the 30s or 40s to take down Lynden.

“Their physicality on offense will test us and if we are willing to play gritty basketball rather than finesse basketball, we will be competitive,” Poindexter said.

“If we try to play pretty, we will be in trouble.”

Lynden is a deep team that can score in a variety of different ways, many dependent on the personnel they choose to employ.

“We're pretty good defenders but we have to be disciplined in terms of getting in their way,” Poindexter said.

“On the coaching end we will really be monitoring what defense we are in and be thinking about matchups and how their substitutions affect what we do — whether we press or go in a zone.

“We're really going to be tested as coaches in terms of defensive decision-making.”

School's in session for the Riders with tipoff set for 10:30 a.m. today at the SunDome.

Last modified: March 05. 2014 6:30PM
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