PORT ANGELES — It was a rugged, physical battle, but the Port Angeles boys basketball team never allowed Sequim to go on a big run and held on for a 75-61 victory.
Sequim finished its regular season at 5-9 in Olympic League play and 10-10 overall. The Wolves now sit back and await their seeding Sunday in the bidistrict tournament as the No. 4 team out of the Olympic.
The victory sets up a huge game tonight between Port Angeles and Bremerton in Port Angeles. Both teams are tied for second place in the Olympic League at 10-3 (Port Angeles is 13-6 overall), with North Kitsap as the league champion at 14-0. This 7 p.m. game is a makeup of a game postponed by snow and ice.
Bremerton beat Port Angeles on the road 74-62 way back on Dec. 8. If the Riders win tonight, they not only get second place, they get to host a first-round bidistrict playoff game with the chance to qualify for the state tournament after just one game. Lose and they finish fourth and go on the road.
Port Angeles coach Kasey Ulin wasn’t happy with how his team played, though he said the team’s defense was solid. He said the team didn’t take care of the ball on offense and had too many turnovers.
“We couldn’t get a lot of rhythm. It was a choppy game, there were a lot of fouls,” Ulin said. “If we play that way on Thursday, we’ll lose by 30. We definitely have to play better.”
Ulin said Isaiah Shamp had a good game. Shamp led the Riders with 25 points, including a rare 3-pointer for the post player and 11 points in a wild, high-scoring fourth quarter. He also said Blake Sohlberg, who drilled a 3-pointer at the end of the first half, and Alex Angevine played well off the bench. Sohlberg also scored a basket on a long backcourt pass from Parker Nickerson that resembled a long touchdown pass from quarterback Nickerson to wide receiver Sohlberg during football season.
Port Angeles held a lead almost the entire game, but never could quite put Sequim away as the Wolves kept lurking 10 to 15 points behind the Riders. Port Angeles was finally able to open up the lead to 20 points midway through the fourth quarter at 61-41.
The teams combined for 52 points in the fourth quarter, with the Wolves getting nearly half their points, 28, in the quarter. While Shamp had a big quarter, Sequim’s Solomon Sheppard had an even bigger fourth, erupting for 17 of his 20 points in the final eight minutes.
Sequim coach Craig Brooks thought the Wolves gave up too many transition baskets to the Riders, who have thrived on steals and fast breaks all season.
“We missed a lot of shots. We were getting good shots,” Brooks said.
Brooks expects Sequim will end up somewhere between ninth and 12th in seeding for the bidistrict tournament and that the Wolves should get a chance to host a playoff game, though it will be a loser-out game. Port Angeles will likely head into double elimination, win or lose tonight.
“[Thursday] is a huge game. The Olympic League is so strong this year,” Ulin said. North Kitsap is ranked No. 4 in the state in Ratings Percentage Index, while Bremerton is No. 7 and Port Angeles is No. 12.
For Port Angeles, Parker Nickerson had 13 points and Sohlberg had nine points. Kason Albaugh finished with eight.
For Sequim, Mason Rapelje scored 10 points, which included a pair of 3-pointers. Keenan Green had eight and Charlie Grider seven.
Port Angeles 75, Sequim 61
Sequim 10 16 7 28 — 61
Port Angeles 21 19 11 24 — 75
Sequim (61) — Sheppard 20, Rapelje 10, Green 8, Grider 7, Melnick 6, Wiker 4, Julmist 4, Gray 2.