The Port Angeles girls basketball team’s quest for a perfect season was completed with a 68-52 hard-fought win over a game Sequim squad that gave the Roughriders everything they could handle, especially over the first 24 minutes of the game.
The Wolves finished a highly successful 11-2 season with both of its losses fairly close games against the Roughriders.
“I couldn’t ask for more from my team; they were exhausted in the end,” Sequim coach Linsay Rapelje said. “That’s the way it should be.”
Meanwhile, the Riders don’t get the chance to see how much damage they could have done at a Class 2A state tournament, but they will always be able to claim both an Olympic League title, the program’s fourth straight, and a perfect 15-0 season after fending off Sequim Wednesday, June 9, in Port Angeles.
The Wolves and Riders had been on a collision course all year. The Wolves pretty much dominated every team they beat, while the Riders dominated everyone but Sequim and Bainbridge.
How good were these two teams? When playing someone other than Sequim, the Riders outscored their opponents 67.5 to 23.8. When playing someone other than Port Angeles, the Wolves outscored their opponents 68.5 to 32.3.
After the game, Rapelje was emotional.
“I’m crying because I’m missing my seniors,” she said. “I don’t care about the loss. It was such a great, fun, competitive game.
“(We) had opportunities, sometimes it just doesn’t work out,” Rapelje said. “If you miss opportunities, Port Angeles will capitalize. Their defense is phenomenal. The will capitalize on every mistake.”
The Riders didn’t like to talk about a “perfect season,” during the year for fear of jinxing it, but now that the season is over, Port Angeles coach Michael Poindexter said he thought all season that it was a realistic goal worth shooting for.
“Most years, you’re just trying to win your way to Yakima (the site of the state tournament),” Poindexter said.
“It’s a meaningful accomplishment especially given some of the challenges and things out of sync this year,” he said.
Swings of momentum
The final score was a bit misleading as the first 24 minutes of the game saw huge swings of momentum with the Roughriders building up a solid lead three times and the Wolves rallying to make it a game again. Sequim was down just three points near the end of the third quarter.
The Riders struggled with their shooting in the first half, but Petty was deadly from outside, hitting three 3-pointers in the half and finishing with 15 points.
Petty hit one 3-pointer to spark a 9-0 run in the first quarter. She hit two more 3-pointers early in the second quarter to give the Riders a 23-14 lead at one point.
While Port Angeles seemed to be taking control at that point, Sequim came roaring back as post players Jelissa and Jayla Julmist began to dominate in the paint and the smaller Roughriders struggled to defend them.
Jelissa Julmist scored four points in the second quarter and Jayla six, then Hannah Bates hit a huge 3-pointer for the Wolves to give Sequim a 27-25 lead late in the first half.
Jaida Wood got hot from outside for the Riders in the third quarter to help open up a Port Angeles lead. She hit a pair of 3-pointers and another bucket for eight points in three minutes. Meanwhile, Petty had two steals and two buckets as Port Angeles opened up a 44-35 lead.
Again, the Wolves came roaring back, refusing to quit. Kalli Wiker hit a 3-pointer, followed by five straight points by Bates. Very quickly, Sequim was down just three points at 46-43.
Long had a crucial rebound and putback at the third-quarter buzzer to give the Riders at 48-43 lead going into the fourth.
In the fourth quarter, Sequim hit a dry spell at the worst possible moment. The Wolves hit only two buckets in a six-minute span as the Riders went on a 16-5 run to seal the game, going up 64-48 with two minutes left.
For Sequim, Jelissa Julmist led the team with 14 points and 13 rebounds and sister Jayla added 12 points, 15 rebounds and four assists. Bates had 10 points and Melissa Porter snagged seven rebounds to go with her six points.
Eve Burke led the Riders with 21 points, 11 rebounds and four steals while Wood had 14 points and eight rebounds.
Long completed a stellar career with the Riders, scoring 16 points in her last high school game to go along with 10 boards and six assists. Her college career will be getting started in just three months for the Peninsula College women’s soccer team. She will also play basketball for the Pirates.
Long scored 1,069 points in high school, an amazing accomplishment considering she missed some time as a sophomore with a broken finger and only played 15 games her senior year.
“It means a lot” to have a perfect season, Long said. “We really took off this year. It’s weird how fast it went. It’s just now becoming real to me that it’s over.”
Rapelje said she was happy to see Sequim’s five seniors — Jayla Julmist, Porter, Wiker, Tarrah Stipe and Amanda Weller — end their prep career playing for a league title agains their peninsula rivals.
“How perfect is that? For me it was a perfect end (to the season), for what it was,” Rapelje said.