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Port Angeles' Kennedy Rognlien, left, slips around Forks' Fynlie Peters on Tuesday night at Port Angeles High School.

GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Port Angeles packed with potential

Defense is there, will offense follow?

PORT ANGELES — A year older and a year wiser, Port Angeles girls basketball returns eight players, six of whom were underclassmen last season as the Roughriders navigated the most difficult schedule in all of Class 2A to a state regional round berth.

“This is Paige [Mason] Izzy Felton and Lexie Smith’s third year on varsity, but last year was their first year getting a ton of minutes,” coach Michael Poindexter said. “Everybody on the team benefitted from the experience of last year and I think there’s some collective wisdom and more of an internal understanding of who we are and what we need to work on.

“Every returner gained something from last year to this year and it’s shown in team chemistry, communication on the floor in our practice tone. They’ve grown in their approach to this season and are delight to coach. It sarted this summer, a sense of unity and they are proud of that.”

What does Port Angeles have going for it?

“When we talked before the season as a group, they brought up team unity/team chemistry but also brought up our quickness and athleticism,” Poindexter said. “The ability to move in space on defense, to play a number of different zone looks.

“They give constant effort and they take a lot of defensive pride.”

Two of the team’s premier defenders are Felton and sophomore Teanna Clark.

“Izzy is a demon out there,” Poindexter said. “She can jump, has great timing and is strong for her size. “Teanna along with Izzy are two of the better defenders in the Olympic League.”

Mason at 5-11, junior post Lexie Smith (6-foot) and sophomore guard Lindsay Smith (5-11) also are providing a lift on the offensive glass.

“That’s one other strong area of improvement this year; offensive rebounding,” Poindexter said.

Mason had six offensive boards against W.F. West and their 6-3 all-state player Julia Dalan.

“Paige Mason does a solid job on the boards and Lexie Smith has an exceptional ability to move in space and always be in the right place at the right time,” Poindexter said.

What the Riders must work on is putting the ball in the basket on a more consistent basis.

“We are working on the offense,” Poindexter said. “Last year’s record against the 12 best teams we played was the result of poor shooting. It is the one thing that is preventing us from beating very good teams. We see it in practice, not just in drills but game situations, but it hasn’t translated to games.

“Part of it is shooting technique, a constant work in progress of relaxation and confidence as a shooter, don’t let the defense dictate how you feel. Go into the shot the same as in practice.”

Port Angeles tunes up for league play with games against top notch teams such as Neah Bay, Class 4A Issaquah and Class 3A Peninsula and already played W.F. West, a likely top-5 2A squad.

Three-way race?

As for the Olympic League?

“We will find out,” Poindexter said. “I see three teams logically competing for first place until proven otherwise, us Sequim and Bainbridge. North Kitsap also could be up there.”

Port Angeles Roughriders

Head coach: Michael Poindexter, 13th season (Overall: 202-82, .711)

Last season: 11-3, 13-11. Second in Olympic League, advanced to state regional round.

Returners:: Paige Mason (sr. F, 5-10); Izzy Felton (sr. G, 5-6); Lexie Smith (jr. P, 6-0); (Lindsay Smith (so., G, 5-11) Tatum Moses (jr., G, 5-4); Teanna Clark (so., G, 5-6); Kennedy Rognlien (so., G, 5-6); Becca Manson (so., F, 5-9).

• • Newcomers: Kenzie Moses (so., G, 5-5); Morgan Politika (fr., G, 5-9).

Outlook: Roughriders are a solid team but to move into the state-caliber realm they’ll need to sink more shots. The team’s defensive abilities can keep them in games, but if the offense isn’t there it’s a wash.

________

Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at mcarman@peninsuladailynews.com.

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS 
Port Angeles’ Kennedy Rognlien, left, slips around Forks’ Fynlie Peters last week at Port Angeles High School.

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS Port Angeles’ Kennedy Rognlien, left, slips around Forks’ Fynlie Peters last week at Port Angeles High School.

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