Elma defense paves way to 51-30 win over Tenino

ELMA — Elma used a full-court press to pave the way to a 51-30 victory over Tenino on Thursday.

The Eagles (3-1, 7-7) forced three turnovers before the Beavers (1-2, 9-4) put up their first shot and forced 26 turnovers on the night. Even after pulling off the press in the second half, Elma continued to control play by dominating the boards. The Eagles outrebounded Tenino 55 to 36 on their way to a win in the Evergreen 1A League game at Elma.

“The press paved the way,” Elma coach Lisa Johnson said. “That is how we like to start out, by getting the up-tempo going and we have to come back and convert those turnovers. We couldn’t get anything going in the first, turning the ball over and letting their being scrappy get to us rather than gaining our composure and working the ball. In the second half, we settled down and executed our offense and our game and stepped up.”

Elma jumped out to a 5-0 lead early in the contest, but struggled to work through Tenino’s full-court man-to-man pressure. The Beavers turned a couple of turnovers by the Eagles into a 7-point run to take the lead, but Elma answered with a 10-point run, which included baskets by four different Eagles. Elma led the rest of the way.

The game was a homecoming for Tenino head coach Brandi Thomas, who graduated from Elma in 2010 after four years as a standout under Johnson. Thomas, who played basketball at Washington State University, received an ovation from both Elma and Tenino fans when she was announced on Thursday.

“It is great to be back here,” Thomas said. “It was different to be on the other side and realize ‘Oh yeah, I walk in the boys locker room now.’ It means a lot to have that warm welcome because this is where I started and I wouldn’t be here without all of this leading up to it.”

“It was awesome,” Johnson said of Thomas’ return. “She is one of the first players that I have had that I’ve coached against. Brandi was a great player and a great kid and I know she will do great things at Tenino.”

Thomas cited the Eagles’ pressure defense and poor shooting in the second half as key reasons for the Beavers coming up short.

Both teams struggled with shooting at times in the contest. Elma managed to put in just one field goal in the second quarter, going 1-for-11 from the field, while Tenino missed its first 12 shots of the second half.

Molly Johnston, who along with Quin Mikel helped the Eagles control the boards, erupted for nine points in the fourth quarter to come away with a game-high 13 points total. Johnston finished with 13 rebounds and four steals, while Mikel added nine points and 12 rebounds. Elma’s Peyton Elliott scored 11 points and McKenzie Neary added eight points.

Elma hosts Aberdeen on Monday.

Tenino 10 6 5 9 — 30

Elma 18 7 13 13 — 51

Tenino (30) — Kershaw 2, Bailon 2, Antill 3, Duncan 1, Letts 4, Mathis 4, Wachter, Schow 9, Homann 5. FG — 10-49. FT — 7-17.

Elma (51) — Sackrider 2, Bieker, Elliott 11, Sutherby 5, Olson, Neary 8, Johnson, Mikel 9, Heller, Johnston 13, Rambo 3. FG — 19-64. FT — 13-20.

JV — Elma 26, Tenino 14