AUBURN — The Port Angeles girls basketball team’s state tournament dreams faded away in yet another disappointing playoff loss Wednesday night.
Port Angeles fell to SPSL power Lakes 52-40 in a loser-out, winner-to-state district playoff game.
It was the Roughriders’ fifth straight loss in the Class 3A West Central/Southwest Washington Bi-District playoffs dating back to 2008.
“It’s hard to end on a loss, but it’s been a great season,” said Port Angeles coach Mike Knowles, whose girls were 16-0 in the Olympic League this year.
“We sent a message around the state that we can play. We’re right there.”
The Riders nearly upset defending 3A state champion Kennedy in Saturday night’s opening round, losing 43-41 to set up their do-or-die game with Lakes of Lakewood.
Yet Port Angeles (18-5 overall) couldn’t carry over the momentum Wednesday night from that near miss.
Lakes (17-6) of Lakewood jumped out to a 27-18 halftime lead as the Riders struggled against the Lancers’ press.
Port Angeles turned the ball over 19 times during the first two periods, digging itself a hole it would never get out of.
“We didn’t handle their pressure like we were supposed to and that hurt us down the stretch,” Knowles said. “It was a tough one, and it’s hard for the kids.”
Port Angeles finished with 27 turnovers on the game while also hitting just 13-of-29 shots from the free throw line.
That was more than enough to outweigh Jessica Madison’s game-high point total of 20 for the Riders.
“If you don’t make free throws in this kind of game it’s tough to win them,” Knowles said.
Senior Skylar Jones scored eight points in her final game in Green-and-White.
She is one of four seniors, including Ceci Stevenson, Elise Reid and Emily Cook, who will graduate from a team that has won at least a share of three straight league titles.
“I feel bad for the seniors,” Knowles said. “Those are the kids I feel sorry for because they don’t have another chance.
“I’m sad for them.
“Those kids have put a lot of time and effort in. I applaud everything that they have done.
“Hopefully they will have good memories of this year once this hurt gets out of their system.”
“It’s frustrating and hard to have a season end, but we went 18-5 and swept the league, had a really good season and had a lot of fun this year.”
Lakes 52, Port Angeles 40
Lakes 9 18 13 12 — 52
Port Angeles 7 11 10 12 — 40
Ware 14, Fields 2, Scott 12, Barton 7, Mitchell 8, Terry 9.
Port Angeles (40)K. Jones 2, Knowles 3, Stevenson 1, S. Jones 8, Madison 20, Jeffers 6.