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Girls Basketball: Cardinals knock Wolves from postseason play
After a two-year absence from the playoffs, Sequim’s Lady Wolves seniors got one more chance to capitalize on this season’s success.
But Sequim (10-6 in league, 10-11 overall) couldn’t overcome the Franklin-Pierce Cardinals (11-4, 16-9) at the District 3 2A Girls basketball tournament on Monday afternoon. Led by Gabby Evans’ 16 points, the Cardinals beat Sequim 41-31 at Curtis High School, eliminating them from the postseason.
Coach Evan Still told his Sequim players after the loss they had a great year regardless.
“Nobody expected us to be in the playoffs,” he said. “Use this as fuel for next year. If you show commitment, as a group, show up to everything you can then we can go far.”
After finishing the first quarter down 7-2, Sequim scored 15 and went into halftime tied at 17.
Alexas Besand helped swing the momentum for Sequim by taking an offensive foul and scoring seven points in the second quarter including a 3-pointer to tie it at 13 and an offensive board for the quick put back for two points and the 15-13 lead. The Wolves would have held the lead going into halftime if not for an Evans’ buzzer-beater to tie it at 17.
Sequim started strong in the third with a Besand bucket and Melanie Guan sinking a mid-range jump shot to go up 21-18. The Cardinals responded with a 3-pointer by Ana Lennox and a steal by Evans and a layup to go back up 23-21.
Evans had another steal and bucket and Destiny Vaiolo scored to go up 27-21 with 1:37 to play in the third. Jordan Miller kept it close with a bucket of her own to pull the Wolves within four (27-23) but Mary Patterson hit a 3-pointer to go back up by seven (30-23) before the end of the quarter.
In the final quarter, Sequim would get as close as five but couldn’t overcome the gap.
Kylee Williams sunk a 3-pointer to narrow the lead to 32-26 and later Guan another 2-pointer (33-28) but they couldn’t capitalize on their steals and wild shots from the Cardinals.
Sequim seniors Besand finished with 9 points, a team high, Guan 4 points and Vanessa Martinez 1 point. While the loss was emotional for the team, the girls said they were proud of their accomplishments.
“The fact that we went from 5-15 to 10-11 is huge,” Besand said. “I just wanted to give us one more chance to get back here.
They agreed their underclassmen teammates will be at the top of the Olympic League next year and plan to watch them play.
Still complimented them for sticking with the team through their senior year.
“You all led by example and you guys were constant leaders,” he said.
Looking at the loss, Still thinks the playoff experience will help his team grow.
“It would have been nice to get this one and even if we lost the next two, it would have been good experience,” he said. “I’m so proud of them. They are definitely my favorite team I’ve ever coached. (I appreciate) how hard they played for each other and the seniors.”
The team was without Caitlin Stofferahn, a junior and one of the team’s leading scorers, who tore her ACL against Bremerton shortly into the 53-38 playoff clinching win on Feb. 11. Her recovery is estimated at 9-12 months. Besand again led the team with 25 points followed by Jordan Miller scoring 11.