The Sequim Wolves won’t be heading to the West Central District 3 playoffs after losing their final three games of the season — including a tiebreaker against Olympic.
The Trojans earned the last playoff spot from the Olympic League with a 59-47 win over the Wolves in Port Townsend on Feb. 8.
The Trojans got off to a fast start Saturday, using their athleticism to put Sequim on its heels early, dominating the early moments of possession. The Wolves weren’t able to get the ball on their half of the court for more than a few seconds until almost two minutes into the game, thanks to several Trojan offensive rebounds and steals.
Olympic went on a 9-2 scoring run to open the game, setting a tone that would last for much of the contest. The Wolves struggled all game with the the Trojans’ athleticism and speed, particularly senior forward Malcolm DeWalt, who typified that advantage for his team with a thunderous second-quarter dunk off a long inbounds pass over an attempted Sequim full-court press.
“Their length and physicality really hurt us,” Sequim head coach Greg Glasser said. “We can’t get our guys to grow, but we can get them stronger. And hopefully that lights a fire under our guys, because you can’t win many games rebounding like we did tonight.”
DeWalt came up big again in the opening moments of the third quarter, getting an easy offensive rebound and laying it up unchallenged.
The senior went on to score 14 of his game-high 20 points on the night in the second half, serving as a major spark to put the Wolves away.
“Malcolm is just such a great athlete,” Glasser added. “And honestly, it’s maybe a little scary to have him coming at you 40 miles per hour. I mean who wants to take that charge? But that’s what we had to do, get in front of him.”
The Wolves managed to pull closer in the fourth quarter; a Dallin Despain free throw made it 51-44 with a little more than four minutes to go. Sequim, however, struggled to make defensive stops to keep their momentum going, getting outscored 8-3 in the final few minutes of the game — a stretch that saw forward Isaiah Moore fouling out of the game.
Struggling down the stretch
SHS’s tiebreaker defeat was preceded by a pair of losses, one to the Port Angeles Roughriders on Feb. 6 and another to Olympic on Feb. 4.
Against the Riders, the Wolves again struggled to get early momentum in their 57-32 loss, falling behind 9-3 early and trailing 20-10 early in the second quarter after junior PA guard Dru Clark hit his third 3-pointer of the first half. Clark would go on to hit five triples in total, scoring a game-high 15 points.
The Wolves played strong basketball in the second and third quarters, claiming a brief lead at 23-22 and then tied the game again at 29 late in the third quarter. Another 3-pointer from Clark, however, gave Port Angeles a 32-29 lead going into the fourth quarter.
That gave PA some much-needed momentum going into the final stretch of the game, exploding for 25 points in the last eight minutes of the game while giving up just three.
The Riders hit six 3-pointers in the final quarter, including five from seniors playing their last regular season home game.
“Our guys battled, and even when we got down early we hung around,” Glasser said. “We kept it within reach, where we wanted it. Being down three after three (quarters) was a good place to be.
“They have a lot of guys who can step up and hit threes. Tonight it was Dru’s night. We didn’t recognize it early enough, we lost guys in transition, and that led to open threes.”
The story against Olympic earlier in the week was similar to what happened in their tiebreaker, falling 58-41 on the road in a game that would have cemented a district playoff spot for Sequim had the Wolves won.
Sequim struggled with turnovers in that game as well, giving up too many transition and second chance points. Each time they tried to close the gap, the Trojans had an answer to stop a scoring run, and in the end the Wolves just couldn’t pull off a comeback.