ELMA — The Elma Eagles defense allowed seven points in the second half in a 61-29 win over Cascade Christian on Tuesday.
The win keeps the Eagles undefeated at 6-0 on the season, but it was a bittersweet victory as Molly Johnston left the game with an apparent ankle injury. Johnston sustained the injury when she rolled her left ankle jumping for a rebound with 1:52 left in the first quarter. The senior told the coaching staff that she heard something pop when the injury occurred and was unable to put weight on it as she was carried off the floor.
Elma head coach Lisa Johnson isn’t sure when Johnston will return to the lineup but is confident the rest of her team will pick up the slack.
“We’re deep and that’s the one thing that has always been good for us,” she said. “But it’s hard to lose a player that’s kind of your glue on the floor.”
Johnston’s injury came when Elma was in the midst of an 11-0 run to start the game and the Eagles struggled to expand the lead heading into the second quarter. Cascade Christian outscored Elma 17-14 in the second frame.
Elma normally looks to play up-tempo, but the Cougars (2-3 overall) succeeded in slowing the pace down in the first half and limited the Eagles’ fast-break opportunities.
Johnson said she urged her team to pick up the pace in the second half.
“We kind of got in a free-throw shooting contest with them in the first half and walking from free-throw line to free-throw line really isn’t our tempo,” she said. “We just stressed at halftime picking up our defense and making adjustments for personnel.”
Kali Rambo scored 10 of her team-leading 17 points in the second half while Kayli Johnson chipped in with 10 assists and 11 steals as she shouldered the majority of the ball-handling responsibilities.
Johnson said communication was key to helping the Eagles pull away in the second half.
“The defense was really good. We were talking more than we ever have since the season started,” she said. “It’s good to have us communicate more after not doing that as much in the first half.”
The Cougars struggled to shoot in the second half and didn’t get much in the way of second chance opportunities.
Elma won the rebounding battle 34-20 with Quin Mikel leading the way as she grabbed eight boards.
The Eagles will put their perfect record on the line again when they take on WF West on Friday at 7 p.m. in Chehalis.
Elma’s 2A opponent is expected to bring a lot of ball pressure and Coach Johnson said taking care of the ball will be a must.
“They’re going to be our biggest test so far. They’re going to press and run us so we have to make sure we value the ball and take care of it,” she said.
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Hoquiam 52, Castle Rock 43
Hoquiam had to make some strategic adjustments against Castle Rock and managed to come away with a 52-43 road win against the Rockets on Tuesday.
Hoquiam (4-1) came out looking to run the floor, but the Rockets (3-2) disrupted the Grizzlies’ attack with an aggressive full-court press.
The Grizzlies clung to a slim 11-10 lead after the first quarter, but Hoquiam got away from its ball-pressure defenses and opted for a 3-2 zone the rest of game.
Maddie German played a key role in Hoquiam’s defense, grabbing 10 rebounds and coming away with 10 steals.
Hoquiam put the game away with a strong fourth quarter where they outscored Castle Rock 17-10 to cement the victory.
“We’ve been finishing well in the fourth quarter which is good because that’s when it counts,” said Hoquiam head coach Denny Hinchen. “We have a good a high-low combination with Kylee Bagwell and Rylee Vonhoff that was really working for us.”
Vonhoff had a strong game for Hoquiam, putting up a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Hinchen also mentioned that he liked the way his team took care of the ball, limiting the turnovers to just 19 when Hoquiam had given up more than 30 turnovers at times this season.
The Grizzlies will take on Rochester (2-3) at home on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Neah Bay 78, Taholah 64
Taholah lost a high-scoring shootout to Neah Bay as the Chitwhins fell 78-64 on Tuesday.
The Chitwhins had trouble dealing with the Reds’ shooting, allowing three players to get into double figures.
Laila Greene led Neah Bay with 21 points.
Taholah’s Nettie Mail led the Chitwhins with 22 points, but Taholah’s interior defense couldn’t keep pace with a Neah Bay offense that hit 3-pointers down the stretch.
Despite the loss, Taholah head coach Fredrick Pope said he was impressed with the composure his team showed.
“We played hard, stuck to our gameplan and learned a lot about ourselves by going up against one of the top teams in the state,” he said. “This was a great game for our team and we are going to learn from it.”
Taholah will hit the hardwood again when they travel to Wishkah Valley on Thursday for a matchup at 5:45 p.m.
Black Hills 60, Montesano 33
Montesano fell behind early and never recovered against a solid Black Hills squad in the Bulldogs’ 60-33 road loss to the Wolves on Tuesday.
“Not much went right for us tonight,” Monte head coach Julie Graves said of her team’s play against an experienced Black Hills team. “They are a good team and used their size and aggressive play to gain the upper hand.”
Monte fell behind 14-6 after one period and were all but out of it by halftime, trailing the Wolves by 24 points.
“We had 23 turnovers, missed several close-range shots, missed more free throws than we made and didn’t convert our 2-on-1 opportunities,” said Graves, whose team shot 11-for-42 from the field. “We will use this as a learning experience and get back to work tomorrow at practice.”
Black Hills (5-2) had three players in double figures, led by guard Megan River’s 15 points.
Monte (4-2) was led by Zoe Hutchings’ 21 points and 10 rebounds. No other Bulldogs player scored more than two points against the Black Hills defense.
Monte will look to get back in the win column when they travel to face Tumwater at 7 p.m. on Friday.
— Ryan Sparks, Grays Harbor News Group
Ocosta 55, Life Christian 23
Two Ocosta players flirted with triple-doubles as the Wildcats cruised to a 55-23 victory over Life Christian Academy on Tuesday in Tacoma.
Kjirstin Hopfer scored a game-high 25 points with nine rebounds and seven steals to lead the Wildcats (4-1, 4-0 Pacific 2B).
Teammate Kaylee Barnum also had an impressive game, scoring 17 points to go along with 12 steals and eight assists.
Ocosta used a suffocating defense to hold Life Christian to seven points in the first half.
“We wanted to come out and have good, full-court pressure,” Ocosta head coach Jason Barnum said before turning his attention to his team’s offense. “We wanted to be disciplined on offense and shoot well, We kind of did that. We ran the offense pretty well and got some open shots. It ended up being a pretty good game.”
The Wildcats will host unbeaten Willapa Valley at 7 :30 p.m. on Saturday in an important 2B Pacific League matchup.
— Ryan Sparks, Grays Harbor News Group