SEQUIM — With the contest tied at 45-all after Sequim sank nearly every shot it attempted in a third-quarter surge, Port Angeles’ Millie Long scored six straight points in the first 42 seconds of the fourth quarter, providing the spark the Roughriders needed to exit with a 67-58 win over a persistent Wolves squad.
Long led all scorers with 26 points, 12 coming in the fourth quarter, including hitting all four free-throw attempts.
“This whole game was just way too close for comfort,” Long said. “Sequim is a very good team, really talented. Coming into the fourth, we had that energy, like ‘No, we aren’t going to do this; we are going to compete, and we aren’t going to let this happen.’ We had to step up our game, not get too freaked out and throw shots up but play composed and come out on top.”
This installment of the Rainshadow Rumble rivalry was worth the delay — a hard-fought, competitive contest between two well-coached sides.
“We felt it was going to be our quickness and our transition versus their size, and it was,” Port Angeles coach Michael Poindexter said.
“We went back to that 1-3-1 [zone defense in the fourth quarter], and we are pretty good with certain kids on the floor. And it bothered them, and I think that was a critical thing. That was the 1-3-1 I am used to seeing out of this group.”
Bailee Larson was one of those “certain kids” on the floor for Port Angeles, playing stifling defense and knocking down a crucial 3-point basket from the right corner to put the Riders up 61-53 with 1:26 to play. Larson also had a fourth-quarter blocked shot and made the correct read as the inbounds passer on an outlet pass to Anna Petty, who was fouled and hit two clutch free throws with around a minute left.
“Bailee was amazing defensively all game, and that one 3 was so important,” Long said. “I was at the top of the 1-3-1 and screaming in her face as she was coming back on defense. That was a good confidence booster for her and for the team.”
Port Angeles ran out to a 24-9 lead after the first quarter thanks to seven early points from Jaida Wood, who would go on to score 15 in the game, and six from Larson.
The Riders’ starters had yet to play deep minutes in two previous blowout wins, so with a number of bench players on the floor, Sequim was able to whittle the Port Angeles lead down thanks to a 9-0 run to start the second quarter.
“The second quarter I substituted for rest, and you saw what happened,” Poindexter said. “That was my fault.”
And the Wolves kept shooting the ball well in the third quarter, going inside for 15 points combined from Jelissa Julmist, who scored nine of her team-high 20 points in the third, and Jayla Julmist, who added six points to pull even with the Riders (3-0).
“Jayla Julmist was my player of the game with a double-double, 16 points and 14 rebounds,” Sequim coach Linsay Rapelje said. “Jelissa was on fire in the third quarter.”
Poindexter was impressed by their play.
“There is nobody in the league like them,” Poindexter said.
“Jelissa just has a sweet, sweet touch and great hands.”
The Julmists’ presence in the post defensively also had an impact on Port Angeles, as the Riders, unable to get out in transition, took a number of outside shots in their halfcourt sets.
“Third quarter, we couldn’t hit a shot to save our souls, and they were good shots,” Poindexter said. “We talked before the game that we did not want the Julmist sisters to set a school shot block record against us. And it was a physical game inside. They let the kids play, and it wasn’t to our advantage if we did go inside.”
There’s nobody in the Olympic League like Long either, and she showed why she is the presumptive league MVP in the final quarter offensively and defensively.
“It was hard to stop Millie Long (26 points) and the sharp shooting of PA, but we played very well considering it’s only our second game,” Rapelje said.
“Hannah Bates was a tremendous point guard for us with six assists, not to mention she had Millie guarding her tight all night. Melissa Porter worked hard on defense and attacked the hoop. Our bench was loud and super supportive as well. Overall, even though we lost, we left nothing on the court.”
Sequim (1-1) visits North Kitsap on Saturday while Port Angeles hosts North Mason on Friday.
Port Angeles 67, Sequim 58
PA 24 9 12 22 — 67
Seq. 9 14 22 13 — 58
Port Angeles (67): Long 26, Wood 15, Burke 13, Larson 9, Petty 4, Walker, McGoff, Stensgard, Brenkman, Gedelman.
Sequim (58): Je. Julmist 20, Ja. Julmist 16, Wiker 10, Bates 5, Porter 5, Johnson 2, Weller, Vaara.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected] news.com.