By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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A potentially game-tying pull-up jumper from the baseline from Redskins senior Paul Spaltenstein missed the rim and hit the side of the backboard as Port Townsend's comeback fell short.
Early on it was all Redskins as Port Townsend jumped out to a 19-6 lead after one period, keyed by the hot shooting of senior guard Cody Russell and strong defensive rebounding eliminating second-chance opportunities for the Roughriders' offense.
Russell knocked down 4 of 5 first-quarter 3-point attempts, all four scores coming on assists from guard Daniel Charlton.
Russell finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and six steals for Port Townsend.
Spaltenstein added five of his game-high 18 points in the first period. He added seven rebounds.
Port Angeles (10-6, 12-8) senior Derek Schumacher scored all six of his team's points in the first frame.
He ended up with 16 for the Riders.
Port Angeles coach Brent Stephens was blunt with his team during the break between the first and second quarters.
“Maybe it was the long pregame introductions, I don't know but, I told them we needed to start playing defense. Everything we do is based off of our defense and we hadn't shown up yet,” Stephens said.
Stephens inserted senior guard Hayden Gunderson and sophomore wing Lambros Rogers into the game and the moves immediately paid dividends as the Riders' full-court press began causing big problems for the Redskins.
Port Angeles went on 8-3 and 7-0 runs in the second quarter, with most buckets stemming from Port Townsend's inability to get the ball past halfcourt and into its offense.
James Delagarza gave the Redskins a lift, catching an errant Russell 3-pointer for a putback basket at the halftime buzzer and a 30-25 Port Townsend lead.
Port Angeles went on a 12-2 run led by more in-your-face defense to start the third quarter, taking the lead at 32-31 on a Gunderson bucket with 5:15 left in the period.
Gunderson scored seven of the Riders 16 points as Port Angeles outscored the Redskins 16-6 in the third.
A Hunter Hathaway putback with 2.5 seconds gave the Riders a 41-36 lead heading into the fourth.
The Port Angeles lead grew to its largest of the night, 48-38, when Schumacher knocked down his final 3-pointer with 6:19 to play.
But Port Townsend's defense clamped down at the right time, holding the Riders scoreless during the final 4:32 of the game.
The Redskins comeback attempt was started by a jumper by Sean Dwyer with 4:16 to play but hampered by a turnover on their next offensive possession.
Port Townsend ended up with 22 turnovers, with Russell responsible for six and backcourt mate Daniel Charlton had five.
The Redskins shook off the turnover, scoring after forcing a shot-clock violation and then after a missed shot, with another Spaltenstein basket pulling the Redskins to 50-48 with 32 seconds to go.
After a highlight reel block from Port Townsend's Jacob King, Port Angeles turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds pass, giving Port Townsend the ball at halfcourt with 25 seconds left.
The Redskins called timeout and setup a play with options for both Russell and Spaltenstein.
Spaltenstein broke open on the inbounds play but his teammates couldn't find him, forcing the team to improvise a last shot.
“For whatever reason we couldn't see Paul there and didn't get him the ball for the shot off the play,” Redskins coach Tom Webster said.
Instead, Spaltenstein received the ball on the right block, looked to drive the baseline but pulled up for a 12-footer that hit the side of the backboard with 3.8 to play.
Port Townsend was unable to get the ball back after trying to foul Port Angeles to extend the game.
“Too many turnovers and we just couldn't finish at the rim,” Webster said of why his team lost.
The Redskins hit 6 of 14 from behind the 3-point line, but managed just 13 of 42 two-point attempts, with most of the errant shots coming near the hoop.
Port Townsend will play a loser-out, winner to Tri-Districts game at the Nisqually League No. 4 either on Saturday or Monday.
The Nisqually standings are a jumble with Cascade Christian (9-6 Nisqually), Seattle Christian (9-6), Charles Wright (8-7), and Life Christian (8-7) all vying for the league's last two berths to the postseason.
Port Angeles will play the South Puget Sound/Seamount League's No. 4 team at Foss High School in Tacoma at 2:45 p.m. Monday.
Port Angeles 50, Port Townsend 48
Port Angeles 6 19 16 9— 50
Port Townsend 19 11 6 12— 48
Port Angeles (50)
Gunderson 16, Schumacher 16, Rogers 6, Hathaway 4, Konapaski 2, Heilman 2, Rosander 2,
Port Townsend (48)
Spaltenstein 18, Russell 16, King 5, Dwyer 4, Delagarza 2, Charlton 2, Coppenrath 1.