Avalanche takes top honors

Note to the defending champs: It's over.

The Olympic Avalanche, a girls basketball squad comprised of players from across the North Olympic Peninsula, swept through the first two rounds and semifinals of the Tiger Classic in Mount Vernon on May 17-18, then edged the defending Tiger Classic champion Ferndale 43-36 for the title.

On May 17, the Avalanche opened with a 28-13 win against the Anacortes Seahawks, led by Krista Johnson's 12 points. Sequim's Karrina Baker had 17 points in the Avalanche's second win, a 47-21 drubbing of South Langley (British Columbia).

In the semifinals on May 18, Johnson, a rising hoops star from Neah Bay, scored 12 points as the Avalanche stopped Anacortes again, 52-23.

Matched up against Ferndale's Golden Eagles in the final, the Avalanche trailed by a point at halftime but outscored the former champs by eight in the second half. Johnson led the squad with 16 points.

"These girls have worked so hard in team practices and weekly individual training sessions to get better in a short period of time; we've only been together 21/2 months, so it is so gratifying to win an out-of-area tournament," coach Joe Marvelle said. "This growth validates the concept of 'individual training' combined with a team implementation."

Avalanche members plan to continue training through the summer with Julie and Peter Stewart, head coaches of the Peninsula College women's and men's basketball programs, and attending Elite NW Basketball Camps, Marvelle said.

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