The Olympic Avalanche basketball squad celebrates a second-place finish at the Chelsea Ebert Memorial Ferndale Jam. They are (back row, from left) coach Eric Johnson, Krista Johnson, Samantha Salas, Lexi Besand, Merissa Murner, Katia Brown and coach Joe Marvelle, with (front row, from left) Celestena Ramirez, Cierra Moss and Hannah Hudson. Submitted photo
This Avalanche had almost enough momentum to finish on top.
The eighth-grade girls select basketball squad won their first five games at the annual Chelsea Ebert Memorial Ferndale Jam on Jan. 15-17 in Ferndale, finally falling to Cashmere in the title game.
“Six games in two days — the girls simply ran out of gas,” coach Joe Marvelle said.
The Avalanche started the 16-team tourney with a 51-25 win against Bellingham, getting 20 points from Krista Johnson of Neah Bay and 10 points from Sequim’s Lexi Besand.
In round two, Olympic edged Wenatchee 44-33, coming back from a 10-point deficit for the win. Johnson had 21 points.
The Avalanche overwhelmed Skyline 52-39 in round three, led by Johnson’s 23 points.
In the quarterfinals, Olympic topped Lynden 47-34 with Johnson’s 17 points leading the way.
Facing Lynden Christian in one semifinal contest, Avalanche players found themselves down by 10 points but scrapped their way back to a 40-38 win. Besand led Olympic with 12 points and Johnson chipped in with 11 points.
With a berth in the finals, Olympic started off slow by falling behind 11-0 to Cashmere. The Avalanche cut that lead to seven points in the second half but could not get any closer, losing 50-38.
Johnson led Olympic with 22 points.
“Cashmere is an outstanding team,” Marvelle said.
The Avalanche coach added that Johnson, the team’s leading scorer, plans to enroll at Stevens Middle School in a couple of weeks, bolstering Port Angeles’ girls’ basketball future.
“In my opinion, this kid will be a star in Olympic League and quite possibly a future league MVP,” Marvelle said.
He added that Besand should make a big impact immediately for Sequim’s Wolves when she moves up to ninth grade next basketball season.