When the Quilcene Rangers needed a big basket down the stretch, one of their youngest standouts took charge.
Freshman Natalie Coffey hit a shot from the right side in transition with less than a minute to play Dec. 13, and the Rangers beat Evergreen Lutheran 29-23 in a Class 1B SeaTac League girls game at Quilcene High School.
Coffey finished with seven points, including a pull-up jumper with 3:08 left that gave Quilcene (3-4, 3-1 league) a five-point lead.
“Natalie played middle school basketball, and the transition to high school from middle school is really big,” Quilcene senior McKenzie Kieffer said. “But she’s come through it like it was nothing.”
Junior Madison Coffey, Natalie’s older sister, tallied a team-high 12 points, and Kieffer added eight.
Kieffer’s shot from the baseline gave Quilcene a 21-20 lead, and she followed with a putback with 4:41 left to extend the Rangers’ advantage.
Quilcene struggled early but led 11-10 at halftime.
“I think we work better under pressure,” Kieffer said.
Evergreen Lutheran 60, Quilcene 41
Brian Rittierodt scored 20 points Dec. 13 and the Eagles controlled the pace from the opening tip in the 1B SeaTac League boys contest.
The Eagles (2-2, 1-1 league) jumped to an 11-point lead after the first quarter and gave Quilcene a look the Rangers (1-4, 1-3) didn’t expect.
“They were in a diamond-and-one (defense) that got us a little rattled,” Quilcene coach Richard French said. “It took us a little bit to adjust to it.”
French said Evergreen Lutheran focused on taking away Quilcene leading-scorer Olin Reynolds, and the Eagles jumped into passing lanes to start fast breaks. Reynolds was limited to eight points.
“We did end up getting some good looks, but they weren’t from our regular guys,” French said.
Quilcene had two games canceled early in the basketball season because the Rangers football team reached the state semifinals. Many of the football players also play basketball, but each is required to have a minimum of 10 practices before he can participate, according to WIAA rules.
“Right now, we don’t have a lot of depth,” French said.
Holdem Elkins, who played quarterback on the football team, hit three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points for Quilcene. Chase Newman and Nate Kieffer each added seven.
The Rangers struggled during a fast-paced first quarter after Rittierodt broke open a one-point game with two 3s and a jumper from the left side. The second 3-pointer made it 20-11 with 40 seconds left in the period.
Quilcene went scoreless for nearly three minutes to start the second quarter but eventually cut a double-digit deficit to nine at halftime.
In the third, Elkins and Kieffer hit key shots from the outside, the latter of which pulled the Rangers within 38-31, but Evergreen Lutheran slowly pulled away.
Quilcene will play at Concordia Christian Academy on Dec. 20 and at Crescent on Dec. 21. The girls games begin at 6 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., respectively, and the boys games follow.
Port Townsend 87, Chimacum 38
Noa Montoya scored 30 points and nabbed five steals, and Cole Crawford tallied 18 points, five rebounds and four steals as the Redhawks cruised past their 1A Olympic League rival Cowboys on Dec. 14 at Port Townsend High School.
Jaden Watkins contributed 11 points and seven assists, and Kuba Krol added nine points and five assists for Port Townsend (4-3, 1-1).
The Redhawks hit 12 3-pointers, coach Tom Webster said.
“Chimacum has some quickness and shooters on the perimeter, and some bigs who can cause problems,” Webster said.
Klahowya 55, Port Townsend 49
On Dec. 11, Klahowya shot 16-for-22 from the free-throw line and came back to beat Port Townsend in Silverdale.
The Redhawks led 43-37 with a little more than three minutes to play, but Klahowya (4-2, 2-0) finished the game on an 18-5 run.
Webster said it was the Eagles’ first home win in three years against the two-time defending league-champion Redhawks.
“No excuses, we have to execute more effectively down the stretch, and I have to coach better if we want to three-peat,” he said.
Jaden Watkins led Port Townsend with 19 points, including four 3-pointers. Crawford added 15 points, and Nico Winegar grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
Next: Coupeville, Alumni Games
The Redhawks host Coupeville in a nonleague game at 6 p.m. Dec. 20, and then they will play their annual fundraising alumni games on Dec. 22. The women’s game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m., and the men’s will follow at 5:30 p.m.