CHIMACUM — How evenly matched was the Chimacum High School and Port Townsend High School girls basketball teams?
With just a minute to go in a West Central District loser-out playoff game Tuesday night, both squads’ best player was on the bench.
The two leading seniors — Chimacum’s Caitlin Eldridge and Port Townsend’s Erica Amico, had fouled out.
It was going to come down to the role players to gut it out in front of a raucous, bipartisan crowd at Chimacum.
The Chimacum boys team, meanwhile, beat Orting earlier in the evening in a doubleheader to advance and play on Saturday.
Fortunately for the Port Townsend girls, its team was just a little bit deeper.
Despite a game-high 32-point effort from Eldridge, it was the Redskins who, with the help of freshmen playmakers Kala Amico and Kari Sly, came out victorious in a double-overtime 75-72 thriller.
With the game tied at 72 apiece and just 49 seconds to go in the second overtime, Port Townsend head coach Randy Maag called Kala’s number.
The play was designed to free up Kala to drive down the middle with the option to pass, and when the defense committed to Kala, she dished it off to Sly, who finished the play with a quick lay-in.
“We really wanted this and I’m just happy we won it,” Kala said.
The Cowboys had a chance to even the score on the next trip, but Kala intercepted an errant Cowboy pass and was intentionally fouled.
In the first overtime, the Redskins were on the verge of victory when Chimacum’s Kylie Garing drained a dramatic 3-point shot with two seconds left in the period that tied up the game at 67-67.
The Cowboys were without their two best players in Eldridge and Bethany Friedrich but despite that grabbed an early 70-67 lead in the second overtime.
Yet Chimacum’s downfall came because of struggles at the free-throw line. The team shot 2-for-8 in the deciding frame.“My hats off to the seniors for Chimacum,” Maag said. “They fought their butts off until the end.”