PORT ANGELES — Clallam Bay was pushed to the absolute limit by an upset-minded Quilcene, but held together to hold back the Rangers 48-42 in a Class 1B Tri-District loser-out girls basketball contest Saturday night at Port Angeles High School.
The Bruins (13-6) advance to the double-elimination portion of the Tri-District tourney, and will visit Tulalip Heritage (16-5) ) in Marysville at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Clallam Bay and Quilcene previously met at the start of the regular season, a 41-18 win by the Bruins.
A much different game unfolded Saturday.
In the first half Quilcene (13-11) methodically moved the ball inside to post Gina Brown. Brown hit for 13 points on the offensive end and the Rangers also took care of business defensively, consistently contesting Clallam Bay’s shooters and limiting the Bruins to just two second quarter points on 1 of 14 shooting in the quarter to build a 22-18 halftime lead.
“A lot of ball watching, a lot of just standing around,” Clallam Bay coach Michael Maines said of his team’s first half.
“The low post, we needed to front that girl [Brown]. We needed to quit watching the ball, watching a lot of loose balls. I told them if the ball is in the air it’s yours.”
The Bruins flipped the game in the second half by switching from a 1-2-2 zone defense to fullcourt man-to-man pressure, bothering Quilcene’s attempts to inbound the ball and then swarming the Rangers’ ballhandlers, forcing 24 second half turnovers.
“When we came out in the second half we played full court man-to-man [defense] to try and get a spark, get a little blood flowing, get a little energy,” Maines said.
Clallam Bay held Brown to two points in the second half, but had to work to stop Quilcene’s Abby Weller. Weller scored 14 of her team-high 20 points in the second half by attacking the rim, getting fouled and putting the Bruins in foul trouble.
Clallam Bay took a 34-30 lead after three quarters as freshman Cedar Johnson poured in nine of her game-high 23 points — even adding some in-game celebrations to the mix.
“She stepped up really well,” Maines said. “It’s nice to see her get a little bit excited, she had her fist pumping after some of those makes.”
Quilcene stayed close and pulled within 43-40 when Weller followed her own missed jumper and scored inside with 2:10 to play. Weller then rebounded a missed Clallam Bay free throw on the defensive end but slipped on the floor and was whistled for a traveling violation.
Johnson put the game away with a banked-in trey on the ensuing possession.
“The fullcourt man helped us,” Maines said. “It sparked us a little bit, it got us some fouls but we worked with it. All those free throws gave us a chance to rest a little bit.
“And Kendra Anderson, a senior, came in and played some big minutes at the end there after Hannah [Olson] fouled out.”
Maines said his team will have to step their performance up going forward if they want to move further in the playoffs.
“We have to come to play,” he said. “Especially in these games when it’s win or go home.”
He also was complimentary of Quilcene.
“They are much improved from when we played them the first time,” he said. “I’ll give them credit. They came to play.”
Rangers coach Briana Weller was impressed by the growth her young, inexperienced and low on numbers team (eight players) showed in this game and on the season.
“Their effort and their heart,” Weller said when asked what stood out about her squad. “This group of young ladies, I’ve had maybe three that have touched a basketball before this season. And the other five are new to the game. At the start of the season if you had told me we would be in the Tri-District playoffs, I never would have believed it. They have worked so hard, they are coachable, they have a great attitude and they have come so far.
“The first time we played them in the regular season we lost by 23 points. So to come back, and give them a game like this is a testament to my kids’ desire, hard work and just a go-and-get it attitude. [We improved] by leaps and bounds. By leaps and bounds.”
Quilcene loses just one senior, Sydney Brown, to graduation.
“We’ll miss her leadership. She’s been phenomenal, a good-hearted kid. We’ll have big shoes to fill at her spot.”
Clallam Bay 48, Quilcene 42
Quil 11 11 8 12— 42
CB 16 2 16 14— 48
Quilcene (42) — Weller 20, G. Brown 15, Kieffer 5, S. Brown 2, Beukes, Mjomba.
Clallam Bay (48) — Johnson 23, Wonderly 13, Smith 4, Olson 4, Anderson 2, Clemmons 2.