PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles stifled Foster with its defense, earning a third straight trip to the state regional round of 16, en route to a 55-30 Class 2A West Central District Tournament girls basketball win.
The victory sends the Roughriders, ranked No. 4 in the WIAA RPI, into the district semifinals where they will face a familiar foe.
Port Angeles’ next opponent? North Kitsap, for the fourth time this season. The Riders have a 2-1 advantage in their previous three games against the Vikings, including wins in the past two games. That game will be held Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Bellarmine Prep High School in Tacoma.
If Port Angeles can stay in the top eight in the RPI through the district tournament, they will seal the team’s first trip to Yakima for state since 2014.
Friday against Foster, Freshman Jaida Wood led the Riders with 14 points, while Mikkiah Brady and Millie Long each had nine and Cheyenne Wheeler and Devin Edwards each scored six.
Port Angeles took a 31-20 lead into the half after jumping out to a 21-8 lead in the first quarter. They basically squeezed the life out of Foster quickly in the third quarter, going on a 15-3 run in the third to grab total control of the game. Port Angeles extended that run to 24-3 more than halfway through the fourth quarter. In fact, the Bulldogs didn’t make a single field goal in the second half until 3:30 left in the game.
The Riders gave up just 10 points in the second half and seven of those 10 points came in the final 3:30, long after the game had been decided.
And Foster (13-7) was a fairly good offensive team coming in to that game. The Bulldogs scored over 70 points three times and 58 or more points nine times this season.
Their three biggest scorers, Makanalaii Montoya, Amerie Pastores and Precious Serafica combined for 36 points a game this season. Against the Riders, they were held to 18.
Coach Michael Poindexter said the Roughriders knew going in that Foster liked to dribble drive inside for its points and they focused on not letting the Bulldogs do that.
“Both of our zones slowed them down,” He said.
As far as the 13-game winning streak, Poindexter and the Riders pay no attention to it.
“We don’t talk about that. We’ll talk about North Kitsap or Renton,” he said. (As it turns out, it will be North Kitsap).
Poindexter said the team has improved during the season, but still has room for more improvement. One flaw he saw against Foster is late in the game, the Riders’ offense bogged down with players floating around the perimeter too much.
But, he added, “we’re playing well at the right time of year. Everyone is contributing in different ways.”
Wood was sporting a scratch under her eye and court burn on her elbow after the game. She is one of three freshman on the team, the others being Millie Long and Madison Cooke, putting in big minutes for the young Riders.
How does if feel to be in regionals riding a 13-game winning streak with so many freshmen on the team (not to mention sophomore Mikkiah Brady)
“It’s awesome,” Wood said. “This is unreal, it’s crazy.”
She credits the girls, “putting in so many hours beyond school practices” for part of the team’s success.
As far as defense, Wood said Natalie Steinman, Cooke and Devin Edwards played big roles in shutting down Foster.
“Natalie is crazy on the steals. Madison and Devin Edwards were great on the rebounds. We were not allowing them a chance for a scecond shot,” Wood said.
“Everyone’s been getting more confident. We’re taking more risks,” said Millie Long, another one of the freshmen.
Long agreed with her coach that the Riders’ zone bothered Foster. “In the 1-3-1, the lane would look open to them and then we would surprise them,” she said.
Long said the Riders actually have a pleasant rivalry with North Kitsap and get along great with the Vikings.
“We love playing them,” Long said. “It’s a friendly game, but competitive.”
Port Angeles 55, Foster 30
Foster 8 12 3 7 — 30
PA 21 10 15 9 — 55
Foster (30) — Serafica 9, Pastores 7, Maiava 6, Montoya 2, Musinovic 2, Dempsey 2, Morris 2.
Port Angeles (55) — Wood 14, Brady 9, M. Long 9, Edwards 6, Wheeler 6, Cooke 4, G. Long 3, Steinman 2, Politika 2.