Sequim High’s girls basketball team will miss out on the state championship 2A tournament after being eliminated from the West Central District 3 playoffs by the White River Hornets on Feb. 20, falling 57-53 in a game that went down to the wire.
The loss ends Sequim’s season one win from the regional portion of the state playoffs.
“That was a tough way to end the season,” Rapelje said. “That was one of the best games they’ve played all season, if not the best game, and four points is two shots. It was that close.”
The Wolves had a fourth quarter lead, opening the final period with an 8-1 scoring run capped by a Jessica Dietzman 3-pointer to go up 50-46.
Unfortunately for Sequim, the Wolves couldn’t find a reliable solution for Hornets guard Kara Marecle, who kept popping up in the second half with big baskets to stop Sequim’s efforts to put together scoring runs.
Marecle, who scored a game-high 22 points, sank what was ultimately the winner with 3:06 to go, a 3-pointer that put White River up 54-52.
Dietzman led the Wolves with 14 points and had three steals and a block. Hope Glasser added 10 points, two blocks, two assists and three steals, while Melissa Porter scored nine points to pair with her strong defense.
One of the struggles the Wolves had for several stretches of the game, especially early on, was with offensive rebounds — both giving up too many and not getting enough of their own.
“(White River) got a few points we shouldn’t have given up because they got rebounds on their end,” Rapelje said, “and there were a few (points) we should have gotten but couldn’t get the ball back.”
But the Wolves were able to block out better and win the rebound battle, with Jayla Julmist pulling down 19 rebounds and Glasser adding another 10.
Rapelje noted that a number of Wolves had impressive overall defensive performances, including Dietzman, Porter, Hannah Wagner and Hannah Bates.
“I’m super proud of our team,” Rapelje said. “I think especially our seniors, Hope and Jessica, had really great games. Everyone played hard all game and didn’t give up, and they should be proud too.”
White River, the top-seeded team at districts before being upset by North Kitsap, went on to capture the district’s fifth seed after knocking off Renton 40-34 on Feb. 22.
Port Angeles won the district crown and will play Tumwater in a seeding game for regionals on Feb. 29. Fife garnered the district’s second seed while North Kitsap earned a No. 3 seed, followed by Franklin Pierce, White River and Renton.
Eliminating the Bucs
Sequim advanced to that battle with White River by taking down the Kingston Buccaneers for a third time this season, beating their Olympic League counterparts 58-34 on Feb. 18.
“We limited our turnovers and focused on making smart passes this game,” Rapelje said, referring to how they ended up in the consolation bracket by losing to the Fife Trojans the week before. “Our bench got a lot of minutes and kept the momentum up.”
Julmist led scoring for the Wolves on the night with 12 points, plus three assists, three blocks and four steals. Glasser scored nine points with 15 rebounds and three assists. Among those strong bench performances were Wagner, who scored eight with her usual excellent defense, plus six points apiece from reserve post players LeeAnn Raney and Jelissa Julmist.