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Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Roughriders fell to 0-4 on the season with a 70-48 loss to Kingston on Friday night.
Despite the margin of defeat, Riders coach Brent Stephens saw progress from his team.
“I really think we grew tonight,” Stephens said.
“We’re making the strides we need to make, and [we’re] improving.”
It was evident in the first half when Port Angeles went toe-to-toe with one of the Olympic League’s best teams.
The Riders played the Buccaneers to a 10-10 tie in the first quarter behind the scoring of Port Angeles seniors Caleb Treider and Marshall Elliott.
The Riders controlled much of the second period and led 19-16 with three minutes remaining in the half.
That’s when things went south for Port Angeles.
Kingston finished the half on an 11-1 run, and continued to roll in the second half, building a 14-point lead heading into the fourth.
In the final period, the Buccaneers’ hot shooting prevented Port Angeles from ever threatening to come back.
Hans Shippers hit 3-pointers from the top of the key on consecutive offensive possessions to quickly extend a 49-36 lead to 55-36.
Connor Wall took it from there for Kingston, scoring many of his game-high 27 points in the last quarter.
“We broke down a little bit [in the second half],” Stephens said.
“We didn’t get to the line, didn’t get to the basket as much.
“A good team like Kingston is going to press you to do those things for 32 minutes [in order to beat them].”
Port Angeles came into the game with only one player averaging in double figures — Hayden Gunderson, who averaged 16.7 points in the first three games, including two games of 20 points or more.
Gunderson was held to four points against Kingston but the Riders had three players score in double figures: Treider (14 points), Elliott (13) and Garrett Payton (10).
“We have a lot of people willing to contribute,” Stephens said.
“The further along we get, the less dependent we will be on Hayden.
“He just needs to keep making good reads.”
Stephens was particularly proud of how the Riders responded after a tough loss to North Mason on Tuesday.
“One thing I like that has improved is our mental toughness,” Stephens said.
“We had a hiccup against North Mason, which is typical of a young team [like Port Angeles].
“It was one of those games where you can hang your head and dwell on it all season, but we learned from it.”
The Riders lack prior varsity experience and have a coaching staff that was hired less than a month before the season, so Stephens anticipates the Riders will experience more growing pains than most teams.
But he expects the improvement to continue.
“Most teams plateau in January,” Stephens said.
“But I think we won’t plateau until the end of the year.”
Kingston 70, Port Angeles 48
Kingston 10 17 19 24— 70
Port Angeles 10 10 12 15— 48
Wall 27, Shuey 2, Rabedeaux 6, Deam 11, English 8, Shippers 10, Hamal 6.
Port Angeles (48)
Andrus 5, Gunderson 4, Treider 14, Payton 10, Elliott 13, Schumacher 2.