SEQUIM — Port Angeles’ pressure defense coupled with the loss of Sequim’s standout center Jayla Julmist to injury propelled the Roughriders to a 64-42 Rainshadow Rumble rivalry victory over the Wolves.
Saturday night’s win was a fight for first place in the Olympic League 2A Division’s girls basketball standings and was highly competitive — for a half.
Julmist injured her right knee at the end of the second quarter having already scored 12 points and with Sequim still in striking distance of Port Angeles. The teams went to the locker room with the Roughriders up 33-25.
Julmist returned for the start of the third quarter, but was unable to stay in the game — and once she left the contest, so did Sequim’s shot at a victory.
“She hurt her knee at the end of the second quarter, I’m not quite sure what happened,” Wolves coach Linsay Rapelje said.
“She debated on whether to go in or not in the third quarter and she tried to go in and right away she jumped and it was bad.
“I am very concerned because obviously not having her changes the whole team dynamic.”
Port Angeles pounced, attacking the rim offensively and continuing to apply its’ grinding pressure defense against the Wolves’ backcourt.
“We were able to rebound a lot more because she’s a key rebounder,” the Riders’ Millie Long said. “She’s their key player, they have a good team they are really well-rounded, but she’s their key. I think they lost some confidence when they saw her go out mentally and physically because her being out of the game is a huge loss for them.”
Port Angeles coach Michael Poindexter was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We settled down and I thought our press wore on their guards as the game went on,” Poindexter said. “And that’s the key to that press is those kids bringing the ball up see fresh faces because we play all 12 kids. And they are on the floor a lot and they get tired and sometimes it took them 15 seconds to get the ball past halfcourt. We aren’t looking for a lot of turnovers on that press we are just looking to wear them out and either make them play a little faster than they want or slower than they want.”
Rapleje said her squad still tried to concentrate on the parts of their games that make the Wolves successful, but the pressure defense, the physical manner in which the game was called and the loss of Julmist was too much to overcome.
“We still tried to focus on the things that we do well,” Rapelje said.
“They were pressing us and double-teaming [Jessica] Dietz[man] and we needed to make a little bit better adjustment to that situation and not get so erratic after the press in the second half offensively and trying to get defensive stops.
“I think they had pretty good pressure, the game was pretty physical, the refs weren’t calling a lot and we didn’t necessarily make the adjustments that we needed.
“I think that’s partly why the game became so erratic. And you have that [Julmist’s injury] on top of everything else.”
Poindexter thought his squad was able to put their stamp on the game.
“We played the way we play and things opened up for us,” Poindexter said.
“Both teams were allowed a fair amount of physicality, both teams were allowed contact and we wanted to go into it.
“You saw Millie with a couple of little floaters, Eve [Burke] with her work on the baseline and she did a nice on our end on offensive rebounding.”
Burke finished with a game-high 14 points on 7 of 11 shooting. Long had 12 points and Bailee Larson had 11, including two 3-pointers in the second quarter.
A coach is never completely satisfied, and Poindexter said there is still work to be done.
“I would have liked to be a little better in pass denial in the press but the kids are starting to see what impact it can have if we are clean and we keep our hands up we are pretty decent athletically,” Poindexter said. “I was pleased with the first half and I expected to pull away a little bit — with or without Jayla I was hoping that press would continue to wear them out. That was the game plan.”
Halfway through the league slate, Port Angeles (6-0, 10-3) now has the inside lane to a third-straight Olympic League title. The No. 10 Riders have a busy week ahead with a road trip to Kingston (3-4, 6-9) and a home date with North Kitsap (3-3, 6-8) followed by a nonleague game at defending 2A state champion No. 4 Washougal (10-2) on Saturday.
No. 16 Sequim (6-1, 9-4) will hope for good news for Julmist before visiting North Mason (4-2, 7-5) on Wednesday.
Port Angeles 64, Sequim 42
Port Angeles 15 18 18 13— 64
Sequim 11 14 7 10— 42
Port Angeles (64) — Burke 14, Long 12, Larson 11, Wood 8, Brady 6, Petty 5, Noel 3, Walker 2, Gedelman 1, Brenkman, Stensgard, Brown.
Sequim (42) — Ja. Julmist 12, Porter 8, Dietzman 6, Wiker 6, Raney 5, Glasser 3, Hastings 2, Bates, Pyeatt, Je. Julmist, Wagner.