Peninsula hoops team takes second in P.A.

Sometimes, teams get the blues. In Sunday's championship game at the Port Angeles President's Day tournament, that's exactly what the Olympic Avalanche team wanted.

But the Lady Blues of Seattle had other thoughts in mind, edging the Avalanche 36-33 for the title in the tourney's girls eighth-grade division.

"This was our game and we just couldn't make our free throws," Avalanche coach Joe Marvelle said after watching his team sink just five of 20 free throw tries, while the Lady Blues connected on 13-of-26 at the line.

"This (Lady Blues team) was the same team that came here in here two years ago and beat everyone by 40-plus points," Marvelle said.

Mariah Frazier had a huge game with 10 points, 24 of the team's 36 rebounds and eight steals. Krista Johnson had 11 points

Despite the loss, the Avalanche went 3-1 and posted another strong tournament finish.

Olympic opened with a 54-10 crushing of Capitol (Olympia) on Saturday morning. Krissy Marvelle had the hot hand with 16 points, hitting four-of-five from three-point range. Frazier had 10 points, 14 rebounds and six steals while Johnson added 13 points and seven steals.

In Saturday's night game, the Avalanche edged the Lady Cruisers from Eatonville, rebounding from a 27-24 late deficit for a 36-30 win. Frazier had 11 points and 10 rebounds while Johnson added nine points.

In Sunday morning's game, the final of pool play, the Avalanche toppled the Blue Ox squad from Gig Harbor, 46-15. Johnson was the top gun in this game, scoring 14 points on three three-pointers. Frazier added nine points and 15 rebounds while Shayla Northern had six points and three steals.

Olympic finishes fifth at Leavenworth

Don't let the fifth-place finish fool you, Avalanche coach Marvelle said.

"This is the best we've played in any tournament we've ever played," he said following the Cascade Classic in Leavenworth on Feb. 7-8. "We played four excellent games."

After going 1-2 in pool play, the Avalanche crushed Wenatchee by 32 points, 56-24.

The Avalanche's Neah Bay duo of Krista Johnson and Lizzie Lawrence led the way. Johnson had 17 points, seven steals and five rebounds in her best game of the season while Lawrence added nine points and solid defense. Anna Mittmann from Sequim had her best game of the season with eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Mariah Frazier added seven points, six steals and a game-high 14 rebounds. The Avalanche out-rebounded Wenatchee 43-24.

Olympic opened the tourney with a tough, 54-50 victory against the Coeur d'Alene Storm. Frazier controlled the board with 21 rebounds while Macy Walker was 6-of-7 from the field for 14 points. Sequim's Lexi Besand added 11 points and 12 rebounds. Johnson added 11 points, including three three-pointers.

In game two, the Avalanche was on the wrong side of a heartbreaker, falling to Eastmont (East Wenatchee) 40-35. Down 35-20 going into the fourth quarter, the Avalanche battled back but fell short in the end. Frazier had nine points and 17 rebounds while Walker added 10 points and three steals. Despite facing a team with all but two players at least 5-feet 8-inches tall, the Avalanche out-rebounded Eastmont 48-41.

In the third and final pool play game, the Avalanche lost to a team Marvelle calls the squad's nemesis: Ferndale. The Avalanche had a 19-9 lead at halftime and 31-26 lead after three quarters, but Ferndale wore down the Olympic squad, outscoring them 27-10 in the fourth quarter for a 53-41 victory.

"We led the entire game until the last three-and-a-half minutes of the game," Marvelle said. "Mariah and Macy fouled out, and we just couldn't hold them off. (It was) really disappointing because we had them."

Just three weeks previous, Ferndale beat Olympic by 22 points. In the February meeting, the Avalanche out-rebounded Ferndale 46-26 but Ferndale shot 44 free throws to Olympic's 23 attempts. Frazier led Olympic with eight points, 11 rebounds and five steals while Walker added 10 points and Johnson chipped in eight points.

Michael Dashiell can be reached at miked@sequim

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