Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Port Angeles’ Derek Bowechop, left, and Gary Johnson battle for a rebound with Sequim’s Hayden Eaton on Thursday night at Port Angeles High School.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Port Angeles’ Derek Bowechop, left, and Gary Johnson battle for a rebound with Sequim’s Hayden Eaton on Thursday night at Port Angeles High School.

BOYS BASKETBALL: Port Angeles dispatches gritty Sequim in rivalry contest

Wolves play Olympic Saturday in playoff tiebreaker at Port Townsend

PORT ANGELES — Sequim made No. 7-ranked Port Angeles sweat through three quarters before the Roughriders broke open the Rainshadow Rumble rivalry contest down the stretch to earn a 57-32 boys basketball win.

The Wolves (6-6, 11-9) had plenty to play for as a win would have cemented the Olympic League’s fourth and final seed to the district tournament.

Instead, Sequim faced Olympic (6-6, 8-12) in a tiebreaker playoff Saturday at Port Townsend High School.

Thursday’s senior night put the spotlight on eight Port Angeles seniors, five of whom started and all of whom saw the floor early in the first quarter per head coach Kasey Ulin’s policy of rewarding his elder players.

“Our rotations were a little different on senior night and we didn’t get a rhythm until later in the second half,” Ulin said. But I mostly credit Sequim and maybe a little of the emotions of the night.

“I thought Sequim played really hard and really well, they were patient offensively and got some good ball movement. Our defensive possessions were fairly long, especially in the second quarter.”

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Port Angeles’ Stuart Methner shoots for the hoop on Thursday in Port Angeles.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Port Angeles’ Stuart Methner shoots for the hoop on Thursday in Port Angeles.

The Wolves ground things out offensively, forcing the Riders into turnovers and hit some big shots to stay close in the first half — including Stew Duncan’s 3-point basket to pull Sequim within 22-17 at halftime.

Port Angeles was paced by junior guard Dru Clark who knocked down three of his five 3-point baskets in the first half on the way to a game-high 15 points.

“You lose track of him and he can bury shots in a hurry,” Ulin said.

“He moves without the ball so well. He doesn’t stand in one spot. He’s always re-locating.”

Sequim’s Erik Christiansen got going with a couple of layups out of the break and the Wolves took the lead at 23-22 with 6 minutes to go in the third.

“After Sequim took the lead in the third quarter, I was proud of how our guys responded and executed,” Ulin said.

“Our conversation in the second half was to stay gritty, keep grinding and win possessions.”

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Por Angeles’ Dru Clark, left, charges past Sequim’s Dallin Despain at Port Angeles High School on Thursday.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Por Angeles’ Dru Clark, left, charges past Sequim’s Dallin Despain at Port Angeles High School on Thursday.

Riders senior Damen Ringgold made his presence felt in the second half with a number of crucial rebounds and putback buckets and Port Angeles seized the lead, 32-29, entering the fourth quarter.

Ringgold finished with 11 points.

“You can’t really see him and then you get those long arms snagging the ball,” Ulin said. “He’s got a motor to go after the ball and he really enjoys the mindset of going after every rebound.

“And he’s really worked on finishing under contact while staying balanced and strong with his footwork. Earlier in the season he would get those rebounds and maybe miss the shot, but the last few weeks he’s shown more stability and control and he’s finishing at a really high percentage.”

Port Angeles senior Anton Kathol opened the fourth with a 3-pointer from the top of the key, followed by a defensive stop and a Ringgold basket inside to stretch the Riders’ lead to 37-29.

Sequim would come no closer than eight points the rest of the way as three seniors added fourth-quarter 3-pointers to stretch the Port Angeles lead: Kathol drained a second 3, Stuart Methner also hit two and Derek Bowechop splashed another.

“We ramped up our defensive intensity and were able to get some good looks,” Ulin said.

“We finally started playing. Playing with confidence, finding that flow. There’s so much emotion in that game it just took awhile for us to get going.”

Ulin praised his seniors.

“It was fun to see those kids get on the court and enjoy the moment,” Ulin said. “They’ve worked hard for years and this group especially has sacrificed so much. We play 13 guys at times and not everybody is going to start or the get the minutes they want. They deserve all the credit in the world for buying into roles and sacrificing for the greater good of the team.”

Port Angeles 57, Sequim 32

Sequim 6 11 12 3— 32

Port Angeles 14 8 10 25— 57

Sequim (32) — Christiansen 9, Moore 8, Duncan 5, Despain 5, Young 5, Eaton, Ballantyne, Smithson.

Port Angeles (57) — Clark 15, Ringgold 11, Methner 9, Kathol 6 Cobb 5, Bowechop 3, Maestas 3, Johnson 3.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Sequim’s Erik Christiansen, right, with help from teammate Hayden Easton, pulls down a rebound as Port Angeles’ Nolan Hughes, left, looks on during Thursday’s game in Port Angeles.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Sequim’s Erik Christiansen, right, with help from teammate Hayden Easton, pulls down a rebound as Port Angeles’ Nolan Hughes, left, looks on during Thursday’s game in Port Angeles.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Port Angeles’ Damen Ringgold, left, retrieves a rebound as Sequim’s Dallin Despain, right, looks on at Port Angeles High School on Thursday.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Port Angeles’ Damen Ringgold, left, retrieves a rebound as Sequim’s Dallin Despain, right, looks on at Port Angeles High School on Thursday.

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