ELMA — The trend of turning defense into offense continued for the Eagles on Thursday night as Elma rolled past Forks 75-37 in Elma.
The Eagles (14-0, 3-0 Evergreen 1A) started fast with an 8-0 run in the first minute, helped by three steals and two breakaway layups from Kayli Johnson. Johnson was one of four Eagles players in double figures with 10 points and finished a steal shy of a double-double.
Elma head coach Lisa Johnson said she was pleased with the unselfish play her team exhibited.
“We has a lot of assists tonight which means we’re strong on the ball and converting on our passes,” she said. “Coming off a big win last night and playing back-to-back we were a little slow to start, but I thought we played great.”
Elma’s transition game helped the Eagles build a 34-12 lead by halftime. When Elma did run a half-court offense Jalyn Sackrider gave them the edge on the inside, scoring a game-high 14 points — 10 of those in the paint — to go along with five assists.
The 6-foot-2 junior also hit her first 3-pointer of the season after some encouragement from the bench in the third quarter.
“Quin (Mikel) kept yelling, ‘That’s deep, that’s deep,’ but I told her I was going for it,” Sackrider said laughing.
Elma pushed the lead to 40 halfway through the fourth quarter.
Coach Johnson said that her team’s relaxed attitude has been and asset this season.
“They have great energy between each other and they have great connections with each other. They’re having a lot of fun,” she said. “They’re playing light and playing up to their ability. It’s a lot of fun for everyone.”
Forks (9-4, 1-1) got its best offensive performance from Jayden Olson, who led the Spartans with 13 points, all of which she scored in the third quarter.
Elma has maintained its strong play despite missing one of its team leaders, senior Molly Johnston, for the past five games due to an ankle injury.
Johnston was in uniform and participated in pre-game warm-ups, but spent the entirety of the game on the bench as Elma plans to ease her back into action.
Coach Johnson didn’t give a definitive timeline for Johnston’s return but is hoping to have her back soon.
“She’s been released and she’ll be ready to go when the ankle feels good enough to get her on the court,” she said. “We’re just taking it game-by-game and practice-by-practice to see how much movement she’s got and how it’s feeling.”
Elma’s perfect record will be put to the test when they take on Montesano in Monte at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs presented the Eagles with tough match-ups last season. This year’s meetings could be just as competitive with Monte only a game behind the Eagles in the loss column.
Sackrider said her team is looking forward to the rivalry game.
“We’re going to be ready. We’re all really pumped up for this one,” she said.
Centralia 50, Aberdeen 29
Aberdeen kept things close against Centralia in the first quarter but couldn’t keep pace in the Bobcats’ 50-29 road loss on Thursday.
The Bobcats were down 19-13 at the end of the first quarter. However, after scoring three points in the second quarter, Aberdeen found itself down 32-16 by halftime.
Though Aberdeen (1-11, 0-3 Evergreen 2A) struggled to score, Aliyah Tageant scored in double figures with 11 points.
Centralia improves to to 3-10 overall and 1-2 in league with the win.
Aberdeen head coach Rachel Wenzel said her team is still working on its ball movement.
“We still have trouble making confident passes whenever we’re pressured,” she said. “We made a goal to take at least 40 shots and we did, so we’ll take that as progress and keep working on getting it past half court.”
Aberdeen will hope to stop its four-game losing streak when they face Tumwater on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Tumwater.