Port Angeles’ Paige Mason, right, looks of the layup as Kingston’s Ellee Brockman defends the lane on Thursday night at Port Angeles High School. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles’ Paige Mason, right, looks of the layup as Kingston’s Ellee Brockman defends the lane on Thursday night at Port Angeles High School. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

PREP BASKETBALL PREVIEWS: Veteran Anna Petty heads up a youthful Port Angeles girls squad

Defense will be initial focus for inexperienced Riders

PORT ANGELES — Defensive intensity, a staple of Port Angeles girls basketball under head coach Michael Poindexter, will provide the spark for a Roughriders team in transition this season.

Port Angeles graduated a ton of talent, including 2021-2022 leading scorer and rebounder Eve Burke, now at Linfield, and point guard Bailee Larson, now playing hoops and soccer at Lower Columbia, from its Olympic League co-champion, district championship-winning squad.

The Riders return a pair of starters including a strong leader entering her fourth season on the varsity in senior point guard Anna Petty.

“Our best inside scorer is Anna Petty at 5-foot-6,” Poindexter said.

Sophomore Lexie Smith is the tallest piece on the floor for Port Angeles. The 5-11 post made great strides as a freshman, especially as a defensive presence for the Riders.

Forward Paige Mason also saw extensive action last season and will join the team once she recovers from a foot injury suffered during soccer season.

Guards Piper Williams and Izzy Felton were reserves last season and will be counted on to grow into new roles this season — along with four players new to the varsity including freshmen Lindsay Smith (younger sister of Lexie), Teanna Clark, Kennedy Rognlien and sophomore Tatum Moses.

“Clearly, our focus will be on the defensive end to start with as our offense comes around,” Poindexter said. “We will try to use a variety of pressure defenses to use our athleticism as best we can. Six of the nine players on the varsity roster are soccer players, and we will use their defensive abilities heavily.

“I think we will be able to score, but it will take some time. The older kids are growing into new roles. Paige, Piper, Izzy are understanding they will see increased minutes and contributions, and the four new players have a learning curve to see what their contributions can be, so it will take time and patience, and that’s what we will provide. We plan on being really patient as our older kids grow into new roles and our younger kids figure out varsity play.”

Lindsay Smith has guard skills at 5-8 and also will be asked to defend inside on occasion.

“She will play a little point and share those duties with Anna. She can shoot and score a bit and has good range, including from 3-point range,” Poindexter said.

Clark, younger sister of former Riders Teagen and Taylar Clark, has impressed as a “tough defender with a really strong work ethic on the court.”

And Rognlien “plays taller than she is, rebounds and defends solidly and is a very good decision-maker offensively.”

“Each of those freshmen bring solid defensive skills and all contribute something different offensively. They’ll all get significant time.

Moses also shoots the ball well and is working to up her game defensively after an injury wiped out much of her freshman season, Poindexter said.

With a non-league schedule full of post-heavy, state tournament-savvy squads such as W.F. West, Bonney Lake and Lynden plus league matchups with Sequim’s tall timbers, Port Angeles has to figure out how to guard the post.

“What we will focus on initially is how we are going to defend the five [position]?,” Poindexter said. “We have some tough non-league games and there will be some challenges, obviously with Sequim, so we need to do the best job in December to figure out how we defend those teams.”

Port Angeles

Head coach: Michael Poindexter, 12th season (189-71, .721)

Last season: 11-1, 17-6. Split Olympic League title with Sequim to earn share of Olympic League crown for fifth straight season, won district championship, advanced to state tournament (0-2).

Returners: Anna Petty (sr., G, 5-6); Piper Williams (sr., G, 5-5); Lexie Smith (so. P, 5-11); Paige Mason (jr. F, 5-9); Izzy Felton (jr. G, 5-5)

Newcomers: (Lindsay Smith (fr., F, 5-8) Tatum Moses (so., G, 5-4); Teanna Clark (Fr., F, 5-6); Kennedy Rognlien (fr., F, 5-6).

Outlook: Roughriders will have to edge an experienced and talented Sequim team to retain the Olympic League crown.

“They return three first-team all-league kids that have extensive varsity experience,” Poindexter said of the Wolves. “We have one player like that in Anna. We will be really patient with these kids as the older kids grow into new roles and the young kids figure out varsity play.”

________

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

Port Angeles’ Anna Petty, right, evades the defense of Kingston’s Jayla Moon on Thursday in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles’ Anna Petty, right, evades the defense of Kingston’s Jayla Moon on Thursday in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

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