2A BASKETBALL REGIONALS: Port Angeles girls battle, but can’t keep up with East Valley

Peninsula Daily News

SPOKANE VALLEY — The Port Angeles basketball girls kept it close against East Valley of Spokane well into the third quarter of their 2A regional matchup, but the Knights were able to pull away late for a 56-33 win.

The score is somewhat misleading in that the Roughriders had the margin down to just two points late in the third quarter. The Knights were able to outscore the Riders 9-1 to end the third quarter, then blew the game open with a 21-7 fourth quarter.

The loss ends the Riders’ season with a 13-11 record.

Nizhoni Wheeler scored nearly half the points for the Riders as she scored 16 points.

Both teams struggled to score early as the Riders went 0-for-10 in the first quarter, but found themselves still very much in the game entering the second quarter.

“Some of those misses were good shot choices, and some were ill-advised shots, but the result was a 7-1 quarter,” said coach Michael Poindexter.

“We settled down in the 2nd quarter, which was fairly even, and went into halftime down 18-11. We felt good about our defensive and rebounding effort against East Valley up to that point,” he said.

In the third quarter, the Riders went on an 8-0 run to pull within a point at 20-19.

The game was still close at 26-24 late in the third when the Knights opened up a big gap again with their 9-1 run.

“At that point, we could have stayed in our zone defense in the fourth quarter and kept the score at a respectable margin, but we felt that in order to win, we needed our defense to generate some points off turnovers, so we went man-man, with full-court pressure. Unfortunately, that resulted in a blizzard of scoring inside and out for the Knights that made the final margin a bit deceptive,” Poindexter said.

Poindexter feels the Riders lost a golden opportunity early when their defense kept the Knights in check.

“Ultimately, the story of the game may be the first-quarter scoring drought. Had we generated a cushion that would have withstood the [East Valley] scoring runs, we probably could have stayed in our two zone defenses in the fourth quarter and stayed competitive until the end. We had a great week of practices leading up to the game, and we hoped the loose, relaxed offensive approach that we’d shown in practice would carry over to the game, but that didn’t happen early on,” he said.

Poindexter said he was happy with the team’s defense over the first three quarters and said Nizhoni Wheeler had a strong effort on both ends of the floor, rebounding well and playing intelligent defense.

It was the final game for seniors Nizhoni Wheeler, Lauren Lunt, and Maddy Wenzl.

East Valley 56, Port Angeles 33

Port Angeles 1 10 15 7 — 33

East Valley 7 11 17 21 — 56

Port Angeles (33) — N. Wheeler 16, Brady 8, C. Wheeler 3, Long 2, Steinman 2, Edwards 2.

East Valley (56) — Wilkinson 12, Fletcher 11, Burland 8, Rowland 7, Adams 6, Holecek 6, Yount 3, Aldendorf 2, Moore 1.

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