SEQUIM — Port Angeles clamped down defensively from the get-go, weathered a third-quarter slowdown and finished strong in a 63-32 Rainshadow Rumble boys basketball rivalry victory over Sequim on Saturday night.
“It’s a sense of relief when you win in Sequim,” Roughriders head coach Kasey Ulin said. “It’s such a tough place to play. They have a great coach, a great fanbase and it’s always a difficult game.
“I was happy to see us execute defensively. I thought our focus was high early. And that’s something we wanted to do. We wanted to get off to a good start and play with a lead because we haven’t really handled that.”
Port Angeles was more gritty than pretty, but the effort on both ends of the floor was plenty.
“It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but we were able to get the ball inside, make enough good reads and get off to a good start. And just defensively the effort was good. The ball pressure was good, we won the glass which was really big for us. And Dru [Clark] and Gary [Johnson] did a good job of getting us in sets all night long. They really mesh well.”
Port Angeles led 16-9 after one quarter and went up 32-13 at halftime after shutting down Sequim offensively in the second quarter. Chase Cobb came through big offensively for the Riders, scoring all 11 of his points in the opening frames.
The Riders did encounter some foul trouble, with floor leader Anton Kathol picking up three first-half fouls and a fourth inside the first minute of the second half.
That did slow Port Angeles down and allowed the Wolves to creep within 39-25 midway through the third quarter.
“A big thing for us is how we start quarters and Sequim came out with great energy to start the second half,” Ulin said. “They make two or three more shots in that stretch and it’s a complete tempo change because we weren’t that good in the third quarter. We were weak with the ball, tried to dribble with our heads down and they capitalized on it. Give them credit because they were down 16 or 17 and they played through it.”
Sequim got a little 3-point happy during the third, missing back-to-back long distance shots after getting the defensive stops they desperately needed.
Another missed opportunity came when the Wolves forced another defensive stop but freshman forward Isaiah Moore earned a foul for shoving Port Angeles’ Damen Ringgold — giving the ball right back to the Riders.
Kathol converted inside on the ensuing possession and Port Angeles never looked back.
Ringgold scored 14 of his 16 points after halftime.
“Damen is our leading scorer and he came on really strong in the second half,” Ulin said.
“We’ve seen a lot of stuff this year, injuries, foul trouble, but the blessing for us is the depth we have. Derek Bowechop has played phenomenal basketball. Lucas Jarnagin gave us 12 minutes tonight. I thought our young guys came in and finished the game. John Vaara was really solid, and Wyatt Dunning played well.
“Our bench was great, Stuart Methner played great minutes. Brady Nickerson defended really well and won loose balls. We were able to play 10 or 11 guys to overcome that foul trouble.”
Erik Christiansen led Sequim with 18 points. Only three other Wolves were able to score in the game.
Fourth-place Sequim (4-3, 9-6) hosts North Mason (1-5, 3-10) on Wednesday.
No. 9 Port Angeles (5-1, 10-4) is in a three-way tie for first place with No. 15 Bremerton and No. 3 North Kitsap in the Olympic League 2A Division standings. The Riders host Kingston on Wednesday before a huge rematch with North Kitsap in Poulsbo on Friday.
Port Angeles previously rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat the Vikings 65-64 at home on Dec. 19.
“To end the first half of league at 5-1, we like where we are at but our goal is to be consistently better and really start peaking as we approach the playoffs,” Ulin said.
Port Angeles 63, Sequim 32
Port Angeles 16 16 11 20— 63
Sequim 9 4 12 7— 32
Port Angeles (63) — Ringgold 16, Kathol 11, Cobb 11, Johnson 5, Bowechop 4, Vaara 4, Methner 4, Hughes 2, Nickerson,
Sequim (32) — Christiansen 18, Eaton 7, Moore 4, Smithson 3, Duncan, Chen, Allen, Young, Despain, Glasser, Mingoy, Ballantyne.