Dallin Despain (0) and Stewart Duncan (33) defend as Kingston Buccaneers guard Christopher Russell looks to push the ball up the court in the second quarter of the Sequim Wolves’ 49-48 win over the Buccaneers on Dec. 11. Sequim Gazette photo by Conor Dowley

Dallin Despain (0) and Stewart Duncan (33) defend as Kingston Buccaneers guard Christopher Russell looks to push the ball up the court in the second quarter of the Sequim Wolves’ 49-48 win over the Buccaneers on Dec. 11. Sequim Gazette photo by Conor Dowley

Boys basketball: Wolves win two close league games

Wolves follow last-second save with an overtime win to open their Olympic League season

Sequim’s boys basketball team is 2-0 in Olympic League play after playing two close-fought games, including a 62-56 overtime win at North Mason on Dec. 13.

Erik Christiansen led the scoring for the Wolves on the night with a season-high 29 points, and hit the game-tying 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.

“Erik was really aggressive and had a hot hand,” Wolves’ head coach Greg Glasser said. “We had some guys really step up and make some big shots down the stretch.

“This was a big win, any time you go down (to North Mason) and get a win you’re happy about it.”

The Wolves trailed for much of the game, but with the last few minutes of the fourth quarter looming, Isaiah Moore hit a big 3-pointer to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to two points, putting Sequim right back into the game and setting up the wild finish.

“Isaiah came up so big in that stretch,” Glasser said. “He really set the stage for everyone else.”

Moore finished the game with 17 points, nine rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot. He also scored on both of two free throws to extend the Wolves’ lead early in overtime, helping set the tone for the period along with the Wolves scoring off the opening tip-off of overtime, where the Wolves outscored the Bulldogs 8-2.

Glasser also praised the play of junior point guard Dallin Despain, who the coach said kept the Wolves in the game at times with his defensive play and ability to keep their tempo up on offense.

“He’s the guy who makes us go and gets us into position to get things done,” Glasser said.

Glasser also noted that Despain played the entire game foul-free, which is something that Despain has struggled with this season.

“We still have some adjustments and things to work on,” Glasser said of the team going forward. “Sometimes we settle for threes when we could get inside more.

“But we do a really good job of moving the ball around and playing tough when we need to.”

Nail-biting league opener

The Wolves had a stressful end to their Olympic League season opener against the Kingston Buccaneers after holding on to a 49-48 win with the Buccaneers missing two field goals in the last three seconds of the game.

The Wolves actually raced out to a 14-2 lead in the game’s opening few minutes, including a thunderous dunk from Hayden Eaton, and held a 10-point lead going into the fourth quarter.

They struggled down the stretch, however, scoring just two points in the quarter and having to keep a hard-charging Kingston at bay in the final minutes.

“I didn’t think we were that bad defensively,” Glasser said. “We had guys that were flying around, but you can’t lose those guys (Buccaneers players Zach Mead and Christopher Russell), and they did a great job of fighting back into the game and having an opportunity to win it. We did a good job to hold on and win it.”

When talking about his team’s struggles to score down the stretch, Glasser seemed optimistic.

“We had the ball in the guys’ hands that we wanted,” he said. “Erik had some good looks. We maybe rushed some threes here and there, but we got the looks that we wanted. It just didn’t drop for us. You’ve got to credit the guys for still getting (those looks) during such a frantic run and holding on for that win.”

One of the themes of Sequim’s non-league games so far this season was point guard Dallin Despain getting into some foul trouble and having to play less aggressively on defense, and spend long stretches of the game on the bench. That happened against Kingston as well, with Despain picking up two fouls in the first four minutes of the game, and two more fairly early in the second half.

“(Despain) made some adjustments, but (being in foul trouble) keeps him from being able to play his game the way he needs to,” Glasser said. “We need to find ways to get through quarters without picking up those cheap fouls. I think he can make those adjustments, but we need to help him figure out how to get through that first quarter without any fouls.”

Glasser also challenged Despain to step up and take more of a leadership role during tough stretches like the fourth quarter against Kingston. He told the team after the game that they got too quiet and lacked energy, and called on Despain to be the spark they needed in rough times like that going forward — something it seems that he took to heart with his performance against North Mason.

Looking ahead

The Wolves had a home game scheduled on Dec. 17 against the Bremerton Knights; results were not available at press time.

They’ll play their second game in as many days on Dec. 18 when they go on the road to play the Forks Spartans at 7 p.m.

After that Sequim gets a short break, not playing again until they travel to Lynden on Dec. 27 to participate in the Cloud 9 Classic tournament. They will face Washougal at 3:15 p.m. on Dec. 27, and Sehome at 11 a.m. on Dec. 28.

The Wolves return home to the Rick Kaps Gymnasium on Jan. 3 to face the Central Kitsap Cougars in a non-league game at 4 p.m., then resume league action on Jan. 7 when they hit the road to face the North Kitsap Vikings.

Olympic League standings

(as of Dec. 16)

Team Lg. Over

Sequim 2-0 5-1

Port Angeles 1-0 2-1

North Kitsap 1-0 4-0

Olympic 1-1 2-4

Bremerton 1-1 4-2

North Mason 0-2 1-5

Kingston 0-2 0-4

Hayden Eaton (50) throws down a slam dunk in the first quarter of the Sequim Wolves’ 49-48 win over the Kingston Buccaneers on Dec. 11. Sequim Gazette photo by Conor Dowley

Hayden Eaton (50) throws down a slam dunk in the first quarter of the Sequim Wolves’ 49-48 win over the Kingston Buccaneers on Dec. 11. Sequim Gazette photo by Conor Dowley

Sequim Wolves’ head coach Greg Glasser gives Riley Chen (20) and the rest of his team instructions in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter during the Wolves’ 49-48 win over the Kingston Buccaneers on Dec. 11. Sequim Gazette photo by Conor Dowley

Sequim Wolves’ head coach Greg Glasser gives Riley Chen (20) and the rest of his team instructions in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter during the Wolves’ 49-48 win over the Kingston Buccaneers on Dec. 11. Sequim Gazette photo by Conor Dowley

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