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Girls basketball: Roughriders, injury spell doom for Sequim
Already playing shorthanded before the season began, Sequim's Wolves went into their Dec. 21 showdown against Port Angeles minus two more key pieces.
The subtractions — and the Roughriders' persistent full-court pressure — added up to a 47-19 Sequim loss, their 12th-consecutive defeat at the hands of their cross-peninsula rivals.
McKenzie Bentz and Hailey Lester had five points each and Elise Beuke added four for the Wolves (2-5 in league, 3-6 in Olympic League play).
"Most of this team has not played in this kind of atmosphere," Sequim coach Evan Still said. "(Our goal was) to handle that, not let the crowd get to us. For the most part, we did that.
"What we did let get to us was the pressure," he said, noting the rather ugly stat sheet number: 41 turnovers.
Without last year's starting point guard Taylor Balkan, Still noted, the Wolves are simply inexperienced at handling the kind of full-court pressure teams like Port Angeles can bring.
Sequim was down just 9-3 after one quarter and 17-7 at halftime before Port Angeles broke it open with a 15-6 third quarter.
"We have guards bringing up the ball who have never brought it up before except on JV," Still said. "We're young and we're learning."
Mariah Frazier led the Roughriders with 11 points, Payton Lee had 10 points and Shayla Northern chipped in with nine.
Sequim started the game minus Alexas Besand, a junior post who was leading the Wolves in scoring before she sprained an ankle against North Kitsap on Dec. 18. The Wolves also were without its lone senior Columbia Haupt, who may not be back before the season ends.
"We had nothing to lose coming into it," Still said.
He said he was impressed with the way Lester, a sophomore, managed to keep her cool at the point guard position against Port Angeles.
"Lester … took it hard to the basket — I thought she had a good game," Still said.
Beuke, Sequim's 6-foot sophomore post, also impressed the Sequim coach.
"She works harder than anybody," Still said.
The Wolves are slated to play at the Port Townsend Crush the Slush tournament, taking on Mornington of Australia on Dec. 28 and North Mason on Dec. 29.
Still said he doesn't expect Besand to play in either game.
"We're not going to rush her back," Still said.
Sequim last beat Port Angeles on Jan. 19, 2007, a 62-49 victory.
The teams play again on Jan. 31 in Port Angeles, as part of another league doubleheader with the boys' teams.