PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles controlled the paint offensively and defensively and dispatched Class 3A Mount Tahoma with relative ease 55-32 in a nonleague boys basketball contest Friday.
“Our defensive focus from the beginning was great, and that’s our key, having everybody on the same page defensively and trying to limit them to one shot or less and not give up any extra attempts,” Roughriders head coach Kasey Ulin said.
Port Angeles had the height advantage against the smaller Thunderbirds and exploited it on both ends of the court. The Riders had five blocks in the first quarter, three from 6-foot-7 post Liam Clark, as Port Angeles made clear Mount Tahoma would find nothing easy inside offensively.
Up 11-8 after one quarter, Payton Schmidt bookended a 10-0 Riders’ run to open the second with two wide-open 3-pointers as Port Angeles opened up a 23-10 lead on the way to a 23-14 halftime advantage.
“We wanted to have a paint presence tonight,” Ulin said. “We talked about playing inside out and getting the ball to the paint, not settling for 3s. We wanted to attack the middle get it deep, get layups and kick the ball out for open shots. When we were playing well the ball was at the rim, we were getting layups or we were kicking it out to open shooters.”
Ulin said there were some things his team would need to work on going forward.
“We gave up too many offensive rebounds in the first half and we got a little ratty at times with their pressure,” he said. “We are trying to piece things together one day at a time.”
Schmidt opened the third quarter with another made 3, his fourth of the game, before Mount Tahoma cut the Riders’ lead to 26-18. That’s when Port Angeles upped its defensive presence in its 1-2-2 zone, forcing steals and getting out in transition during a backbreaking 12-0 run to go up 38-18 with 2:45 left in the quarter.
Kyle Benedict was hot in that stretch, scoring seven straight points, on his way to a team-high 15.
“Defensively, we wanted to limit their dribble penetration,” Ulin said. “We were going to live with contested shots from the perimeter and not let their dribble penetration create easy scoring chances and we were really good at that for the most part.
“The only problem in a zone sometimes is rebounding, it’s hard to find a man to box out because you’re scrambling around, but we’ll get better at that.”
Schmidt added 14 points, Garrett Edwards had nine and Liam Clark scored eight with seven blocked shots.
“We have a great set of post big guys in Liam, Garrett, Anton [Kathol] and Colton McGuffey,” Ulin said.
“They are physical, athletic, long and we can do multiple things offensively and defensively with those guys. They challenged shots all night and our paint presence was great.”
After splitting its first pair of nonleague contests, Port Angeles (1-1) opens Olympic League 2A Division play Friday at defending league champion North Kitsap.
“We’ve had two good nonleague games to prepare and we are trying to put the pieces together right now to play a full four quarters of basketball,” Ulin said. “Our goal is to win a league championship and to be that type of team you need to play well for four quarters, you can’t pick and choose your effort.
“We get a great challenge next Friday against North, get to go to the powerhouse of the league at their house and it’s going to take four quarters of consistent focus and effort to get a win.”
Port Angeles 55, Mount Tahoma 32
Mt. Tahoma 8 6 8 10— 32
Port Angeles 11 12 17 15— 55
Mount Tahoma (32) — Joseph 8, Williford 6, McKinney 5, Harris 5, Rosario 3, Burns 3, Jones 2,