After two games this season this much is clear: The Elma Eagles will try their best to smother their opponents with defense.
For the second time in the early season, the Eagles rode an energetic and relentless defense to victory, downing the new-look North Beach Hyaks 65-24 on Wednesday at Elma High School.
Using its swarming pressure defense, Elma (2-0 overall) held North Beach (0-1) scoreless in the first quarter, relegating the Hyaks to mostly long-range shots from the perimeter.
Elma extended its lead to 11-0 early in the second quarter when a steal by junior post Carter Studer led to a fast-break layup for senior guard Kyren Hackney.
North Beach broke the goose egg on a 3-pointer with 7-28 to go in the first half, but Elma’s defense continued to pressure the Hyaks throughout the remainder of the second quarter.
Elma took a 16-6 lead when sophomore guard Theo Flores scored on a coast-to-coast layup and was followed by a bucket from Studer in the paint with just over five minutes to go in the half.
Elma stretched its lead to 27-8 on a steal and layup by junior post AJ Holmes late in the quarter and took a 29-11 lead at halftime.
The Eagles opened the second half on an 11-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from junior guard Cason Seaberg to take a commanding 40-13 lead they would never relinquish.
Elma got scoring up and down the lineup with three players in double figures and 10 players scoring in the game.
The Eagles were led by Studer, who scored a team-best 12 points off the bench. Carter (10 pts.) and junior Grant Vessey (10 pts.) also scored in double digits with Flores adding nine points in his reserve role.
Elma passed well with 17 assists as a team and its defense recorded 16 steals, with Seaberg leading the way with four assists and four steals.
The Eagles also rebounded well with 31 boards in the game, 16 on the offensive glass.
Elma senior Gibson Cain led with 10 rebounds — six on the offensive boards — and also recorded a block in the game.
“We don’t ever have to question our effort or energy, that’s for sure,” said Elma head coach Matt Ferrier, commending Seaberg and Carter for igniting the Eagles’ defensive effort. “Cason and Traden are our energy guys. They really sparked our second-quarter run that allowed us to pull away.”
Playing in its first game of the season, North Beach struggled against the aggressive Eagles. The Hyaks, which graduated multiple key players after being senior-heavy last season, hit 10 field goals in the game, led by Tyrell Hovland’s 12 points.
Six of the Hyaks’ made shots were 3-pointers.
Elma will play at Adna at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
North Beach will take on Lake Quinault at 6 p.m. on Friday at Lake Quinault High School.
Hoquiam 67, Rochester 49
Hoquiam opened its season red hot, scoring 24 points in the first quarter en route to a 67-49 win over Rochester on Wednesday at Hoquiam Square Garden in Hoquiam.
The Grizzlies (1-0 overall) outscored Rochester by nine points in the first quarter, led by Justice Stankavich and Michael Lorton Watkins, scoring 10 and nine points in the frame, respectively.
While the Grizzlies offense cooled a bit in the second quarter, the defense heated up.
Hoquiam held the Warriors to seven points in the second quarter on two field goals and a pair of free throws to take a comfortable 37-22 lead at halftime.
Lorton Watkins finished the game with 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting, 18 of those in a second-half performance that included three 3-pointers made in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Stankavich finished with 14 points and Owen McNeill also scored in double-digits with 12 points for the Grizzlies.
McNeill and Stankavich led the way on the boards with eight rebounds apiece.
Hoquiam’s defense recorded 23 steals, led by Jake Templer (7 steals), Timmy Higgins (5 stl.) and Lorton Watkins (4 stl.).
“We really did a good job pressuring them from the beginning,” Hoquiam head coach Jeff Niemi said. “We had a ton of steals and we did a good job of forcing turnovers and getting easy baskets.”
For Niemi, who last coached prep basketball at Elma two seasons ago, the return to the high-school ranks after a season as an assistant coach for the Grays Harbor College Chokers was an enjoyable one.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “The crowd was good and it was special being back home. It really does feel good. I missed coaching high school and it was honestly a blast. I really had a lot of fun tonight.”
Hoquiam hosts Ocosta at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Tenino 51, Raymond 37
One day after opening the season with a victory the Raymond Seagulls suffered their first loss of the season, falling 51-37 to Tenino on Wednesday in Tenino.
Foul trouble and fatigue plagued the Seagulls (1-1) in the loss, particularly in the second half.
Trailing 27-25 at halftime, Raymond scored just four points in the third quarter and were without the services of Morgan Anderson and Talan Yearout for much of the half due to foul trouble.
“That really caused us some problems on both ends of the floor,” Raymond head coach Mike Tully said, adding his team also lost its legs in the second half. “It was pretty clear that last night’s game had an affect on our legs. Our shooting suffered and we weren’t able to attack the basket effectively against their length.”
Tenino’s Noah Schow led all scorers with 29 points in the game.
Raymond will have some time to rest up before starting its league schedule with a game against Ocosta at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Westport.
Chief Leschi 70, Ocosta 47
GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL
Raymond 52, Onalaska 29
The post-Kyra Gardner era began for the Raymond Seagulls with a 52-29 victory over Onalaska on Wednesday in Onalaska.
After a slow start on the defensive end, Raymond (1-0) switched schemes to limit Onalaska’s shots in the paint and generate some transition offense.
Raymond took a 27-13 lead at the half and put the game away with a 17-6 third quarter.
The Seagulls were led by sophomore Karsyn Freeman and junior Kyndal Koski, scoring 16 and 10 points, respectively.
Raymond recorded 20 steals in the game and were led on the boards by Alia Enlow with nine rebounds to go along with five steals.
Koski added five steals and five assists to her all-around performance.
On defense, Raymond’s Megan Kongbouakhay and Emma Glazier held Onalaska standout Brooklyn Sandridge to 10 points in the game.
“It was nice to get the season started with a W,” Raymond head coach Jason Koski said.
The Seagulls will face Napavine at 6 p.m. on Friday at Raymond High School.