Girls basketball: Wolves on the cusp of playoffs

Sequim Gazette staff

The competition for the playoffs is getting tougher for the hopeful Lady Wolves.


In two weeks, Sequim (7-4, 7-8) went from second place in the Olympic League to a tie for fourth with the North Kitsap Vikings (7-4, 10-5). The top four teams in the league advance to the postseason.


The Wolves had a week to improve upon a Jan. 17 home loss 54-44 to Olympic before traveling to Kingston on Jan. 24. However, the game against the Buccaneers went one-sided after the first quarter in a 61-43 loss.


“We just didn’t show up,” Sequim coach Evan Still said.


“We started the game up 7-2 and I don’t know what it is, the pressure or the situation, but we start to make uncharacteristic mistakes — stuff we haven’t done all year,” Still said.


The Wolves were only down four at the end of the first quarter but were outscored 20-9 in the second and 14-7 in the third.


“The second quarter killed us with us not getting back on defense,” Still said. “We knew they like to push the ball.”


One bright spot, Still said, was senior guard Melanie Guan’s play. Guan finished with 10 points.


“She shot really well,” Still said. “She’s really important for our success if she plays well and stays aggressive. At one point, we were down down 22  (points) at one point and we cut it to 12 in large part to her.”


Caitlin Stofferahn scored 14 points and Alexas Besand 10 for the Wolves while Drew Clark (14 points), Napua Fontes (13) and Debra Hill (10) led the Buccaneers.


Sequim played North Mason (1-11, 1-14) at home on Jan. 28 and travels to Klahowya (1-10, 3-11) on Friday. The Wolves follow that up with two home games on Feb. 4 against North Kitsap and Feb. 7 against Port Angeles.


“We go in with the thought process that if we play our game and smart basketball, we’ll be in any game we play,” Still said.


“It’s just haven’t put those 32 minutes together yet and when we do, we’re going to be dangerous.”


Tuesday's game

Down three points at halftime to North Mason on Jan. 28, the Wolves got a message on the board from their coach.


"We just drew a heart on the board," Sequim coach Evan Still said.


Sequim showed plenty of heart — and more — as they erupted for a 24-point third quarter and ran away in a 52-32 against the Bulldogs on Jan. 28.


Caitlin Stofferahn scored a game-high 24 points and Alexas Besand added 11 points as the Wolves avoided an upset and kept their proverbial foot in the door for the postseason.


"That second half of basketball … we went out and executed," Still said. "That's exciting. That starts on defense (and translates) to offense. That was 16 minutes of tremendous basketball."


Still praised the Wolves' defense that helped Sequim outscore North Mason 24-2 in the third quarter.


The win helped Sequim stay in contention for a playoff berth. Still noted that none of this year's Wolves were logging significant minutes the last time Sequim earned a district playoff berth in 2010-2011.


"None of our girls know what we're playing for," Still said. "They're used to playing 20 games and the season ending (but) they're starting to understand."


That's why Still and other coaches are leaning a bit on Besand, a senior who was on that 2010-2011 squad and has state tourney-level experience with SHS's softball squad.


"We've put pressure on her to lead," Still said of Besand, "especially being a senior and captain."


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