Girls basketball: Call them 'Comeback Queens'

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The Wolves girls basketball team turned up the heat again to come from behind to beat North Mason 39-34 on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Head coach Evan Still said the girls did a good job finding the open shooter.

“We are a very unselfish team,” Still said. “Only one girl didn't score, but she had a chance to.”

Sequim was down 20-19 at halftime and only scored two points in the third period. But North Mason (0-11 in league) played poorly in the second half as well, only scoring three points in the third period. Then the Wolves' defense and offense surged.

McKenzie Bentz hit back-to-back 3-pointers followed by another from Melanie Guan in the fourth period. The team also hit seven of 10 from the free-throw line for the game.

“We didn't get to the line as much but we'll take 70 percent,” Still said. “That's our goal in practice.”

Elise Beuke led Sequim with eight points, and Bentz scored six and Guan had five.
The team's leading scorer, Alexas Besand, was held to four points along with Hailey Lester and Caitlin Stofferahn.

Other teammates Emma Anderson, Victoria Cummins, Vanessa Martinez and Emily Wallner each scored two points.

Still said the girls' confidence levels are high with back-to-back wins.
“We had a tendency to start really slow and we're trying to fix that,” he said.

“They know it. If we play well, we can play with a lot of teams.”

Sequim seemed to overcome its turnover woes in its win against Kingston on Jan. 18 with only 11 miscues, but turned it over 27 times against North Mason.

“Most of our turnovers were more about making bad passes,” Still said.
The team continues to share its point guard duties through Guan, Lester and Bentz.

“Mel is doing a great job,” Still said. “It's not her natural position having her bring the ball up. We're doing a good job there.”

The girls play at 7 p.m. Friday night at home against Klahowya (1-10 in league).

Still anticipates seeing a similar zone defense as North Mason.
“They'll give us outside shots. We welcome that,” he said.

Knocking off Kingston

On Friday, Jan. 18, the girls rallied to defeat Kingston 46-39 at home. The team avenged a 43-34 December loss and inched closer to a spot at districts.

After scoring only 11 points in the first half, the Wolves stepped up their defense and scoring to end the third period on an 8-0 run to cut the lead down to 30-27.

Besand started the fourth off with a three-pointer and finished the game with 17 points.

Kingston went into the penalty with 2:32 to go and Sequim scored most of its final points from the free-throw line.

Earlier in the week, Still, the Sequim coach, set a goal for the team to take care of the ball more, box out more for easier rebounds and make more free throws. Sequim sank 13 of 21 free throws against Kingston.

Still said after the game that Besand is going to need to score like that every game for them to be successful.

He was particularly proud of his bench players being so supportive during the game, too.

“It means we’re playing for each other and not ourselves,” he said.

Besand, the team’s co-captain, said that the Jan. 11 loss to Olympic was a changing point for the team.

“Most of our losses are downers but there was a difference,” she said. “We played to our potential.”

The Wolves have a shot at making the playoffs if they pass Kington (now 4-7 in league) in the standings. The top five teams in the Olympic League qualify for the Class 2A West District tournament.

“We’re hoping to sneak into the playoffs but we have to win a majority of our games left,” Still said.

“Port Townsend, Bremerton and Port Angeles are all tough. We’re going to have to have some upsets.”

To make districts and go far, co-captain Elise Beuke said, the team just needs to want it.

“When you commit a lot of your time, you need to realize it’s a commitment and why you’re here — to represent Sequim,” she said.

Besand agrees.

“We just have to hate losing. Some of us don’t like losing but we don’t hate it yet,” she said.

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