Quilcene girls defeat PJPII, Tacoma Baptist

Kirk Boxleitner kboxleitner@ptleader.com
Posted 2/13/18

Back-to-back wins got the Lady Rangers to tri-districts, but a narrow loss dashed their post season dreams.

POPE JOHN PAUL II

The Quilcene girls’ basketball team romped over the Pope John …

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Quilcene girls defeat PJPII, Tacoma Baptist

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Back-to-back wins got the Lady Rangers to tri-districts, but a narrow loss dashed their post season dreams.

POPE JOHN PAUL II

The Quilcene girls’ basketball team romped over the Pope John Paul II team by an absurd margin, with the Lady Rangers defeating the visiting Eagles by a score of 48-9.

“The Rangers didn’t mess around and got the job done resoundingly against Pope John Paul II,” Quilcene coach Briana Weller said. “The team played with good energy, and the entire roster shared good game-growing minutes.”

Weller credited the team with shooting well from the field, at 36 percent, and with converting 24 points off the Eagles’ turnovers, working the ball inside the paint consistently for 34 of their 48 points.

“For the first time in a long while, our offense had a nice quick tempo of passing and cutting, and shifted the defense nicely,” Weller said. “Obviously, this allowed us great scoring opportunities, which we recognized and capitalized on.”

In terms of defense, Weller commended her players for “playing sound and solid,” with a “much improved” help defense, “which kept us out of foul trouble.”

Quilcene’s defensive work produced team totals of 10 steals, 3 blocks, 1 charge, 27 defensive rebounds and only 8 fouls.

“Again, our best defensive individual performance goes to Brittney Beukes, who held the Eagles’ quick point guard in check and limited her to only 6 points,” Weller said. “Brit is so fast, and she’s really learning to move her feet, chest up, and stay in front. She gives pretty much anybody she guards some serious fits.”

Weller has urged the Rangers “to buckle down and tidy up their game,” since the past several games have produced too many self-inflicted turnovers for her taste.

“It hasn’t been the opposing teams’ pressure causing these woes either,” Weller said. “We tend to have moments where we just implode. We have to figure out how to take care of the ball and focus on each possession. That work has been in progress all season.”

Gina Brown had what Weller deemed “another solid game in the post,” with her fifth double-double of the season, as she scored 18 points, and had 12 rebounds and 2 steals.

Abby Weller added 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals, and Marissa Kieffer added 9 points, 10 rebounds and 1 steal.

Sydney Brown scored 4 points and had 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Brittney Beukes added 4 points, 5 rebounds and 1 steal.

Tabitha Mjomba, Allanah Carron and Harmony Scholz combined for 6 rebounds in the game.

Quilcene’s scoring advantage remained lopsided throughout the game, with a first-quarter score of 17-1, followed by a second-quarter score of 10-0, even as the margins tightened slightly with a 12-5 third quarter and a 9-3 fourth quarter.

TACOMA BAPTIST

The Lady Rangers moved on to a loser-out, winner-to-tri-district game Feb. 8 at 4:30 p.m. against the Tacoma Baptist Crusaders at Evergreen Lutheran High School.

“The Rangers were all business right from the start,” said Weller, who noted that her players opened the game with a 9-0 run, and ended the first quarter up 13-2. “Early success on offense came off several quick transition points against the Crusaders’ press. We also did a good job of working the ball around on our offensive sets and attacking the weak spots in their zone.”

Weller conceded that converting 11 points off Crusader turnovers helped as well.

“It was a great team effort,” Weller said, praising her players for shooting 34 percent from the field and 100 percent from the free throw line. “Defensively, we’d done our homework and knew that we had to shut down Tacoma Baptist’s 3-point shooter, their dribble drive guard and their post. The Rangers stuck to the plan and executed it very well.”

The Rangers held the Crusaders’ 3-point shooter to 8 points, and their dribble drive guard and post to 2 points each.

Beukes, Kieffer, Sydney Brown, Gina Brown and Abby Weller “played some tough, tough defense,” in coach Weller’s estimation, and also outrebounded the Crusaders defensively 23-10.

Gina Brown led all scorers with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals; Abby Weller scored 9 points, and had 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal. Sydney Brown added 6 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist.

Beukes added 4 points and 2 rebounds, and Kieffer added 4 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.

“Harmony Scholz and Tabitha Mjomba each contributed 1 rebound and were very helpful in holding ground on defense when they were subbed into the game,” Weller said.

Quilcene again held onto its scoring advantage, quarter by quarter, with lopsided margins of 13-2 and 10-4 in the first and fourth quarters, while the game drew closer in the second and third quarters, by margins of 8-6 and 6-5, respectively.

CLALLAM BAY

Unfortunately for the Lady Rangers’ postseason quest, advancing to the tri-district tourney at Port Angeles High School Feb. 10 also meant losing to Clallam Bay, 42-48, in a winner-advances, loser-out game.

“Saturday’s play-in game was hard-fought,” Weller said. “It had to be, as it was do or die. It most certainly could have gone in Quilcene’s favor, but 35 costly turnovers and 19 missed free throws made the difference between winning and losing this one.”

While Weller credited her players with “giving it their all” and battling for “every possession, every minute, and every quarter,” she also acknowledged that Clallam “is a quick team, that loves to run and gun. For the most part, our girls took that aspect of their game away.”

Weller commended the Clallam players on their speed and “go-to-the-basket mentality,” but also lauded Quilcene’s defense for doing “a solid job” of holding the Bruins down.

“We had a few mental lapses, and let their shooter do some damage, but the biggest issue was our turnovers,” said Weller, who lamented that Clallam Bay scored 24 points off Quilcene’s turnovers. “If the Rangers tidy up their game and do a better job of taking care of the ball, we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with next season.”

Abby Weller led the Quilcene scorers with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks. Gina Brown scored 15 points, and had 9 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal.

Kieffer had 5 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block, and Sydney Brown scored 2 points, and had 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.

‘CINDERELLA SEASON’

Weller nonetheless congratulated the Lady Rangers for a “Cinderella season.”

“Against the odds, our tiny team, with youth and inexperience as our biggest adversaries, did mighty things,” said Weller, noting that Quilcene finished second in the West Division of the Sea-Tac League, and fifth overall out of the entire league.

“Not too shabby for eight girls, including three freshmen, four sophomores and one senior,” she added. “And two of those eight were exchange students.”

The Lady Rangers finish the regular season with a 7-5 league record, a 13-11 overall record and a 2-2 post season record.

“This is the best group of young ladies I have had the pleasure of working with these past six years,” Weller said. “They are focused, motivated, hardworking, coachable and respectful. The future is bright for this young group. These ladies will be back better and stronger next season, so stay tuned.”

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