SPORTS: Rivals set to battle at Crush in the Slush tournament

PORT TOWNSEND — The second act of the rivalry showdown between the Port Townsend and Chimacum boys and girls basketball teams will highlight the seventh annual Crush in the Slush tournament Friday and Saturday.

Port Townsend hosts the 15-team prep tourney that also will feature two Australian all-star teams and two Class 4A boys state powerhouses.

Other area teams participating in the popular tourney will be the Neah Bay boys and the Sequim girls.

The tourney has an odd number of teams because the Wenatchee Panthers will be taking the place of the Neah Bay Red Devils on the second day of the boys bracket.

The Red Devils are playing Friday only.

All Jefferson County eyes, though, will be on the rematch between archrivals Chimacum and Port Townsend in Friday’s first-round games.

The two schools went at it in round one of their 2012-2013 rivalry last weekend in two barn-burning defensive gems.

The Port Townsend girls, 6-3 overall and 4-3 in the Olympic League, shaded Chimacum 42-41 in a game that went down to the wire Dec. 20.

Oh, so close

The Cowboys, 0-7 overall and 0-5 in the Nisqually League, came close to their first win of the season.

Chimacum will try again to get in the win column against its rival and spoil the Redskins’ opening Crush in the Slush game Friday at 4 p.m.

The boys’ first rivalry game was almost as close as the girls as Chimacum hung on to beat Port Townsend 46-42 on Dec. 20.

The Redskins, 2-7 overall and 1-6 in the Olympic League, will try to turn the tables against the Cowboys, 2-5 overall and 0-5 in the Nisqually League, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

“It will be another good game, I’m hoping,” Chimacum coach Jim Eldridge said.

Both teams will be a little short-handed with some players out of town for the holidays.

Chimacum, which beat Port Townsend two times last year, will be missing starting forward Riley Downs, who pulled down 10 rebounds and had six points against the Redskins last week, and backup post Seth Ham.

The Redskins will be missing starting post Skyler Coppenrath.

“We have some guys who can fill in for Skyler, they just need to step it up,” Port Townsend coach Tom Webster said.

On the other hand, the Cowboys will have guard Tracyn Anderson, who missed last week’s game, available.

Anderson, who won’t be starting because he has missed several practices, will be available to play.

Unfortunately for the Redskins, Chimacum’s top scorer — Rafael Pagasian — is healthy and will be back.

Pagasian had a hot hand last week and scorched the nets for 22 points.

“Rafael has been our most consistent scorer,” Eldridge said.

Webster said the Redskins will be paying attention to Pagasian.

“We need to keep Rafael under control and play smarter,” Webster said.

“We had some runs and they had some runs [in last week’s game].”

Cody Russell, who led the Redskins with 19 points last week, just missed a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left in the game.

“It went in and out of the rim,” Webster said.

The Redskins are hoping those close shots drop this time around.

The Cowboys have avoided the flu and common cold bugs and are all healthy — except for the coach.

“I’m the only one who is sick,” Eldridge said. “I don’t feel too bad right now; I’m getting better.”

Another win against his rival could help Eldridge feel a lot better.

Other area teams playing on opening night will be the Neah Bay boys, going against the Aussie Travelers, one of the Australian teams, at 10:45 a.m. on Friday, and the Sequim girls, who take on the Mornington Breakers of Australia at 9 a.m. on Friday.

On Saturday, Port Townsend boys will play the Aussie Travelers at 7:30 p.m.; Port Townsend girls compete against the Mornington Breakers at 5:45 p.m.; Chimacum boys tackle Sedro-Woolley at 10:45 a.m.; Chimacum girls play Seattle Academy at 9 a.m.; and the Sequim girls take on North Mason at 12:30 p.m.

One of the highlights of the tournament will be a showdown between 4A state powers Jackson Timberwolves of Mill Creek and Wenatchee Panthers at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Both teams are expected to be major players in the state championships this coming March.

Other teams in the tourney include Squalicum of Bellingham and Auburn Mountainview.

Squalicum is another traditional basketball state contender.

Two-day tickets to the tournament cost $10 for adults, $5 for children or senior citizens while one-day tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children and seniors.

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