CHEHALIS — By handily surviving a pair of dissimilar elimination games, Elma’s and Hoquiam’s girls earned the right to again face off — this time with a regional berth at stake.
Taking command early, Elma rolled to a 56-36 victory over Seton Catholic in the losers bracket of the District IV Class 1A Girls Basketball Tournament on Friday at Chehalis High School’s Bearcat Gym.
Hoquiam later used a big third quarter to oust King’s Way Christian, 46-32, in the second half of the girls doubleheader.
The Eagles (13-9) and Grizzlies (9-13) will collide in a winner-to-regionals, loser-out affair scheduled for 6 p.m. today at Kelso. Montesano and La Center will clash for the state championship at approximately 7:30 at Kelso.
This will be the third meeting of the Grays Harbor rivals. Elma won the first two, 40-25 and 43-33.
Double-digit margins were about all Friday’s games (postponed from Thursday due to a mudslide near Woodland that prevented King’s Way and Seton Catholic from making the trip north) had in common.
Elma prevailed in a fast-paced, turnover-filled affair. The Eagles essentially settled the issue in the opening four minutes, needing barely four minutes to forge a 10-point lead.
Hoquiam, in contrast, didn’t even score for the opening 4:12. But the Grizzlies broke open a tight contest by outpointing the Knights 17-3 in the third period.
Eagles 56, Cougars 36
Elma did nothing special for the final three quarters and was actually outscored in the second half.
It mattered little, however, since the East County crew had already established an insurmountable lead with a classic early demonstration of what coach Lisa Johnson is fond of calling “Eagle ball.”
The well-balanced Eagles pressured Seton Catholic into nine first-quarter turnovers and used most of them to trigger their running games. On the occasions they missed the first shot of a possession, they often converted the putback — eventually owning a 47-33 rebounding advantage.
“It was quintessential Elma basketball, pressing and (getting) turnovers and finishing shots,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to do that (Saturday) and for the rest of the season.”
The tone was set on Elma’s first two possessions.
After Elma rebounded a Cougar miss following the opening tip, Peyton Elliott took a long Quin Mikel pass for a layin. The Eagles then stole the ball in backcourt, with Brooke Sutherby converting an entry pass for a layin.
The Eagles continued to bedevil Seton Catholic’s ball-handers for the remainder of the first half. Elliott scored five points and Mikel and McKenzie Neary four apiece as Elma raced to a 22-5 lead at the end of one quarter.
With Johnson substituting more liberally than usual to rest her starters for tonight’s contest, the Eagles cooled off considerably and were essentially operating on cruise control the rest of the way. They nevertheless led 33-9 at the half and owned no worse than an an 18-point advantage in the second half.
Ten Eagles divided up the scoring. Senior guard Elliott topped the parade with 13 points. Freshman forward Mikel attained a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Sutherby and Molly Johnston each pulled down nine rebounds. Elliott handed out three assists, while freshman reserve Jalyn Sackrider blocked three shots.
Jasmine Morgan and Nami Nsubuga scored 10 points each for Seton Catholic.
Grizzlies 46, Knights 32
Hoquiam overcame a slow start and a veritable one-woman show from King’s Way’s sophomore MacKenzie Ellertson.
A 5-foot-7 sophomore who also does the bulk of her team’s ball-handling, Ellertson accounted for 24 of the Knights’ total.
The Grizzlies, however, were considerably more diversified. Junior guard Karlie Krohn topped the winners with 14 points, while sophomore post Rylee Vonhof added 13.
With their perimeter shooting almost non-existent in the first quarter (Vonhof scored all eight of Hoquiam’s points in the period), the Grizzlies trailed for most of the first half. Kylee Bagwell’s basket, off a feed from Brandi Parson in the final minute, gave them a slim 20-18 edge at intermission.
By this time, however, the Grizzlies were finding some cracks in King’s Way’s zone and began experiencing particular success in freeing Krohn for baseline jumpers.
Krohn, Vonhof and Parson combined for the opening eight points of the second half. Ellertson responded with the third of her five 3-point baskets, but the Knights failed to score again for the remainder of the third quarter. Krohn contributed six points to a 9-0 run that closed out the period with HHS owning a 37-21 bulge.
King’s Way closed the gap to nine early in the fourth quarter, but baskets by Casey Mode and Bagwell quickly restored order.
“We didn’t make any adjustments,” HHS coach Mark Maxfield said. “We were getting the shots (early), we just weren’t hitting them. We’re better when we make the extra pass. It shifts the zone a little bit.”
Like Elma, Hoquiam also possessed a decisive rebounding advantage (49-31). Izzy Hernandez led HHS rebounders with 11, while the 5-6 Krohn had eight.
Although Maxfield wasn’t particularly happy with his team’s defense against Ellertson, the Knights shot only 19 percent from the field.
Elma 22 11 14 9 — 56
Seton Cath. 5 4 16 11 — 36
Elma (56) — Elliott 13, Sutherby 5, Neary 4, Mikel 10, Johnston 5, Olson 2, Johnson 7, Heller 3, Rambo 3, Bieker, Bol, Burgher, Sackrider 4. FG — 22-62 (.355). FT — 8-20.
Seton Catholic (36) — Beckwith 7, Morgan 10, Scruggs, Martin 4, Nsubuga 10, Vick, McDaid-O’Neill, Watkins, Badger 2, Frazier 2, Partridge, Zdunich 1. FG — 10-44 (.227). FT — 14-22.
King’s Way 9 9 3 11 — 32
Hoquiam 8 12 17 9 — 46
King’s Way (32) — Hutchin, Moats 5, Bertrand, Kolb, Ellertson 24, Nichols 2, Feldman 1. FG — 12-62 (.194). FT — 3-5.
Hoquiam (46) — Mode 2, Hernandez 4, Parson 2, Krohn 14, Vonhof 13, Jade Cox, Jump 2, Dunn, Jordan Cox, Bagwell 7, German 2. FG — 21-63 (.333). FT — 4-7.