SEQUIM —Sequim capped its first undisputed Olympic League championship since 1987 by finishing its league season with a perfect 14-0 record, running away from a spirited Port Angeles team in the second half for a 57-46 Olympic League girls basketball win.
Coach Joclin Julmist said the girls talked about a league title at the beginning of the year and that senior point guard Hannah Bates led the charge all season.
“They just really wanted it,” he said. “They followed Hannah’s lead. She really believed we could win it.”
He also said one difference for the girls this year was health with few injuries. Leading scorer Jolene Vaara sat out Thursday’s game with an ankle injury, but Julmist is hopeful she can be back for the playoffs.
“It means everything. We put in so much work,” said Jelissa Julmist, who had a huge second half against the Riders.
“It’s awesome, it’s crazy,” Bates said. “It feels so good to be champion.”
The Wolves have a chance to finish perfect, though it won’t be easy. They are 18-0 overall and ranked No. 2 in the state in the Class 2A Ratings Percentage Index. Sequim finishes the season Tuesday against Neah Bay, which is 14-1 and ranked No. 1 among 1B schools. In the opening game of the season late last year, the Wolves beat the Red Devils 60-52. Since then, both teams have combined to go 31-0.
Port Angeles nearly knocked off Sequim earlier in the season and in Thursday’s game, the Riders hung tough with the Wolves until the third quarter. Sequim went on a 16-2 run at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth to blow the game open, mostly behind Julmist, who had 16 points in the second half.
“The third quarter was absolutely the difference,” said Port Angeles coach Michael Poindexter. He said the Riders only got off eight field goal attempts in the third due to turnovers and made just one.
“Sequim had 12 more field goal attempts than we did,” he said.
Playing without leading scorer Vaara, Sequim held a 25-17 lead in the second quarter. Port Angeles’ Anna Petty made a basket on a drive and then had a steal and passed to Teanna Clark for a basket.
The Riders’ Paige Mason hit a 3-pointer in the final minute, then followed up with a 2-point bucket in the final seconds of the half to draw the Riders to a 26-26 tie at the break as Port Angeles finished the half on a 9-1 run.
Petty hit a nice runner at the beginning of the second half to give the Roughriders a brief 28-27 lead. After that point, it was all Sequim, which clamped down on defense and allowed just two more points the rest of the quarter. Bates hit Bobbi Mixon with a couple of passes for buckets and Julmist finished the third quarter scoring seven straight points.
Julmist then opened up the fourth with a 3-pointer to give Sequim a commanding 43-30 lead. Julmist scored six more points in the fourth as Sequim built its lead to 51-36.
The Port Angeles girls finished second in the Olympic 2A League with a chance to finish second undisputed. One down side to the game for the Riders other than the loss is Petty injured her knee in a pileup under the Port Angeles basket with less than 2 minutes to play. Poindexter said the team doesn’t know the extent of her injury yet, but he is hopeful it wasn’t as serious as it looked. He doesn’t know yet if Petty will be able to play against Bainbridge today.
Julmist led the Wolves with 18 points, six rebounds, five steals and five assists. Bates had a double-double with 11 points, 11 assists and five steals, while Mixon had 11 points and five rebounds. Libby Turella scored seven points, all in the first half.
For Port Angeles, Lexie Smith, Petty and Clark all led the team with nine points. Smith had 10 rebounds and Petty five assists. Mason finished with eight points.
Sequim’s game against Neah Bay is at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Port Angeles (10-3, 10-9) has one league game left, hosting 3A Bainbridge (10-3, 11-8) at 1 p.m. today. Though Bainbridge goes to a 3A tournament in postseason, a win could help the Riders’ RPI (currently No. 17) and seeding at the district 2A tournament. Poindexter is hoping the Riders could get as high as a No 4 seed in the District 2A/3A tournament. Sequim is automatically a top three seed.
Sequim, Port Angeles
PA 15 11 4 16 — 46
Sequim 16 10 14 17— 57
Port Angeles (46) — Le. Smith 9, Petty 9, Clark 9, Mason 8, Williams 5, L. Smith 3, Felton 3.
Sequim (57) — Julmist 18, Bates 11, Mixon 11, Turella 7, Herman 6, Johnson 2, Bloomenrader 1, Bacon 1.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or email@example.com.