Girls basketball: Wolves earn at least a share of Olympic League title

In a match-up of the league’s two powerhouses, the Roughriders came through in a big way.

Port Angeles unleashed an effective 1-3-1 press that consistently swiped the ball from Sequim and effectively drained the drama, if not the celebration, from the Riders Senior Night on Feb, 3, topping Sequim 60-36.

With the Olympic League Championship up for grabs for the Wolves with a win, Port Angeles evened the season series with two league games remaining for each team next week and leapfrogged Sequim (No. 10) to No. 8 in the WIAA RPI.

“It was a great senior night for us,” Riders coach Michael Poindexter said. “All seniors played intelligent basketball for us tonight, but I want to single out Bailee Larson for a tremendous overall game and Jayde Gedelman for one of her strongest games of the season.”

Wolves, playing without star center Jelissa Julmist who missed the game with an injury, were led by Jolene Vaara’s 13 points; Hannah Bates added nine.

Larson led Port Angeles in rebounds (10) and assists (eight) while scoring seven points.

Port Angeles unleashed forward Eve Burke at the top of its zone to open the game and the results were immediate as the Riders forced 11 first-quarter turnovers and attacked the rim aggressively, thanks to Julmist’s absence.

Burke scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the first half, teammate Anna Petty added 10 of her 12 points in the first two quarters.

Sequim opened the first three quarters with turnovers on each of its initial possessions, further compounding the team’s woes. The Wolves finished with 26 giveaways, while Port Angeles totaled 18.

The Sequim defense held Port Angeles scoreless for four minutes of the third quarter and the Wolves trimmed six points off the Riders’ advantage in that time frame, but back-to-back old-fashioned 3-point plays off steals by Burke and Petty erased any inroads and put the game away.

“PA played a good game tonight and we had a rough showing,” Sequim coach Joclin Julmist said.

“Our girls worked hard but we had too many turnovers and not enough second chances. We have to flush this one and focus on the next game.”

Key road win

On Feb. 7, the Wolves (13-1 in league play, 17-3 overall) earned a 38-37 win over North Kitsap to finish their league slate with just one loss.

Still playing without Jelissa Julmist, the Sequim girls basketball team toughed out a very low-scoring road win.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well tonight and our defense was not what we are used to, but (we) fought all night,” said coach Joclin Julmist. “Tough win. Happy for the girls.”

Jolene Vaara led the way, scoring half of the Wolves’ points. She finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and four steals. Addie Smith made a pair of 3-pointers for six points.

“Hannah Bates was a good floor general. She did a good job handling the pressure and getting the players in a position to score,” Julmist said.

“Hannah Wagner played good defense all night and battled on the boards and came up with some timely plays.”

Port Angeles was 11-1 in league play heading into a game with Bremerton on Feb. 8 and needing to win both that and a Feb. 10 road match-up with North Kitsap to also finish 13-1 in league play.

A tiebreaker would be settled with a post-regular season game between the rivals, SHS athletic director Dave Ditlefsen said this week; a time and location had not been set as of Feb. 8.

Sequim capped its regular season with a 45-41 non-league home win over Kingston on Feb. 8.

With the Wolves’ win in Poulsbo on Tuesday, they broke the school record for most wins in a season; Sequim had previously set the mark of 17 in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.

Since that 2018-2019 season, the Wolves are 63-20.

Coming up

Sequim will likely host a district playoff game on Tuesday, Feb. 15, after seedings for the 16-team West Central District 2/3 tourney are announced.

The top six teams advance to regionals.

Sequim Gazette editor Michael Dashiell contributed to this story.