Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Port Angeles’ Myra Walker, right, grabs a rebound from Sequim’s LeeAnn Raney, left, and Hannah Wagner on Thursday night at Port Angeles High School.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Port Angeles’ Myra Walker, right, grabs a rebound from Sequim’s LeeAnn Raney, left, and Hannah Wagner on Thursday night at Port Angeles High School.

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Riders claim league title against Sequim

PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles left no doubt that it remains at the top of the Olympic League 2A Division.

Going up against second-place Sequim, which came in to the game with the chance to tie the Riders for the girls basketball league title and force a tie-breaking game this weekend, No. 10 Port Angeles (12-0, 16-4) used a suffocating defense to shut down the Wolves’ outside shooting, going on to win 61-45 to claim an undefeated and undisputed league championship.

No. 13 Sequim (10-2, 15-5) has shown a scary ability to score at will much of this season.

In the Wolves’ previous game, they hit a staggering 15 3-pointers and scored 80 points. In fact, the Wolves has scored 80 or more points five times this season and came in to Thursday’s game averaging 76 points a game over their past four games.

The Riders held that explosive team to two 3-pointers and just 27 points after three quarters.

“We have a plan on defense,” said Port Angeles coach Michael Poindexter. “We don’t focus on any one player.”

How did the Riders stop a team that had hit 15 3-pointers?

“We guarded them,” Poindexter said simply. “We didn’t do anything any differently than we did in Sequim [a 64-42 Port Angeles win].”

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Sequim’s Kalli Wiker, right, gets trapped at the line by Port Angeles’ Myra Walker as Walker’s teammate Jaida Wood, left, looks on during Thursday’s game in Port Angeles.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Sequim’s Kalli Wiker, right, gets trapped at the line by Port Angeles’ Myra Walker as Walker’s teammate Jaida Wood, left, looks on during Thursday’s game in Port Angeles.

With the league championship, Port Angeles (12-0, 16-4) gets a first-round bye in the West Central District III tournament. The Riders won’t play again until Friday.

Sequim (10-2, 15-5) completes a highly successful regular season with only two losses in league play — both to Port Angeles. The Wolves finish second in the Olympic League 2A and earned a home game in the WCD III tournament against Foster (8-5 in the South Puget Sound League, 9-11 overall) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Mikkiah Brady had a fantastic game on offense and defense for the Riders. It was her job to keep Sequim sharpshooter Kalli Wiker from getting the ball in shooting position. Wiker has twice this season hit eight 3-pointers in a game and had another game in which she hit five bombs. Against Port Angeles, she only managed to get off four shots and hit one 3-pointer.

“My personal goal is to shut down Kalli. I face guarded her. I was aiming for zero 3-pointers. One is good,” Brady said.

Sequim coach Linsay Rapelje said the Wolves knew the Riders were going to try to shut down Wiker’s shooting.

“We couldn’t make adjustments … it took us a long time to make adjustments [to the Port Angeles defense],” Rapelje said. “We tried to come up with a game plan. Mikkiah battled through the screens.”

Rapelje said she told the girls before the game to play relaxed.

“I told them we have nothing to lose. We’re going to get to host a playoff game no matter what,” she said.

And the Wolves have come an incredibly long way from a team just two years that got held scoreless for an entire half by the Riders — this year, they pretty much dominated everyone in the Olympic 2A League but Port Angeles. Rapelje was not the coach for the Wolves yet, but she witnessed that game.

“I always thought the potential was there, but it wasn’t harnessed,” Rapelje said. She said the Wolves took a big step last year qualifying for state.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Sequim’s Jessica Dietzman, top left, tries to deflect a layup by Port Angeles’ Millie Long as Sequim’s Kalli Wiker, front, looks on during Thursday’s game at Port Angeles High School.

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Sequim’s Jessica Dietzman, top left, tries to deflect a layup by Port Angeles’ Millie Long as Sequim’s Kalli Wiker, front, looks on during Thursday’s game at Port Angeles High School.

“This year, we built on that. We’re on the next level. There’s still so much potential,” she said.

Even after expending all that energy defending Wiker, it was Brady who also had the hot hand from outside as she drilled four 3-pointers, three in the first half, to score 12 points.

How does it feel to win the Olympic League 2A and finish league play undefeated?

“It’s wonderful. I love it. It goes to show just how much work we’ve put in,” Brady said.

Riders in charge early

Port Angeles took charge early, though through the first three quarters, Sequim kept coming back as the Riders couldn’t quite shake the Wolves completely.

Port Angeles built up a 14-5 lead in the second quarter, but Sequim freshman Hannah Bates made a couple of great plays to get the Wolves back in the game. She hit a 3-pointer, then stole the ball on the ensuing possession and drove for a basket to make it 14-10.

Brady hit the third of her 3-pointers and Jaida Wood added a 3-pointer and Port Angeles’ Eve Burke hit a pair of baskets as the Riders quickly opened the lead back up to 26-10. Burke ended up leading all scorers with 19, with 13 of her points coming in the second half.

Sequim’s Jayla Julmist hit a pair of buckets as the Wolves cut the lead to 26-14 at the half.

Burke led a huge Port Angeles surge at the beginning of the second half as the Riders all but put the game away in the first four minutes of the half.

Brady hit her fourth 3-pointer and Burke scored nine points as the Roughriders began the half on a 12-4 run to open up a 38-18 lead. It was Port Angeles’ biggest lead until the final minutes.

The Wolves showed that there’s a reason they went 15-5. The Riders were maintaining a 51-30 lead early in the fourth quarter when the Wolves went on a 8-0 point mini-run thanks to a Julmist bucket, a Julmist steal and basket and buckets from Jessica Dietzman and Hannah Wagner to keep the final outcome in doubt.

Sequim quickly found itself down just 51-38 with more than 4 minutes left and still with a chance to make things interesting.

Millie Long, who had a great all-around game for Port Angeles, ended the threat with a steal and a basket, followed by another steal and an assist to Burke to make it 55-38, all but putting the game out of reach.

Long finished with 13 points and nine assists, adding a number of steals and rebounds. Poindexter said she had an exceptionally solid game despite a rough shooting night.

“She had some adversity, she held her emotions in check,” Poindexter said. “She wasn’t getting a lot of breaks.”

Bailee Larson had 10 points and eight rebounds as four different Riders scored in double figures.

Sequim was led by Julmist with 14 points. Dietzman and Wagner each finished with nine points.

Port Angeles will play the winner of Eatonville (6-7 SPSL, 9-12 overall) and Orting (5-8 SPSL, 10-11 overall) at 7 p.m. next Friday in the Riders’ second-round tournament game. If Port Angeles can win that game, the Riders will have already earned a trip to the state regional round or state tournament depending on their RPI seeding.

Port Angeles 61, Sequim 45

Sequim 5 9 13 18— 45

Port Angeles 11 15 17 18— 61

Sequim (45) — Julmist 14, Dietzman 9, Wagner 9, Bates 5, Glasser 4, Wiker 3, Raney 1, Porter.

Port Angeles (61) — Burke 19, Brady 12, Long 11, Larson 10, Wood 5, Noel 2, Stensgard, Brown, Petty, McGoff, Walker.

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