When they generate a perimeter game to add to Jordan Spradlin’s inside presence, Montesano’s girls can justify their high RPI ranking.
Josie Toyra knocked down six 3-point baskets to supplement Spradlin’s 22 points as the Bulldogs turned back Elma, 64-53, in an Evergreen 1A League girls basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 10, at Elma.
Ranked second among state 1A teams in the Ratings Percentage Index that will be used to seed teams for regional competition, Montesano improved to 2-0 in league and 11-2 overall. Elma is now 2-1 in league and 6-7 overall.
Toyra’s 18 points came exclusively on threes. Three of her triples came in a decisive third quarter.
“We talked about Josie continuing to shoot,” Monte coach Julie Graves said. “We know she’s a great shooter and she had to put her (first-half) misses behind her.”
Frustrated at times by a couple of early fouls and Elma’s collapsing zone defense, Spradlin continued to dominate the paint. The 6-foot-1 senior did much of her scoring on putbacks, as she pulled down 17 rebounds.
Although leading only at 2-0, underdog Elma executed a good part of its game plan in remaining within striking distance for much of the first half in a typically intense, physically played battle of East County rivals.
Double-teaming Spradlin (often with Molly Johnston and Peyton Elliott) and forcing the Bulldogs to shoot ineffectively from the outside, the Eagles trailed by only five when Elliott sank two foul shots with 1:20 remaining in the half. Josie Talley’s free throw and Cheyann Bartlett’s basket gave the Bulldogs a 30-22 halftime advantage.
The complexion of the contest abruptly changed in the third quarter.
After Monte’s Shayla Floch and Elma’s Elliott exchanged baskets to open the second half, Toyra nailed a pair of threes from the right wing.
Elliott answered from in close. But setting up open shots by rotating passes around the Eagle zone and with Spradlin mopping up on the offensive glass, the Bulldogs reeled off the next 12 points to put the game away.
Montesano also borrowed from Elma’s traditional defensive playbook by pressuring the Eagles into nine turnovers in the third quarter alone.
“It was an awesome third quarter,” Graves affirmed. “We talked about coming out of the locker room and focusing on the first three minutes and extending the lead. We did that.”
The Bulldogs led by as many as 29 early in the fourth quarter. With Spradlin on the bench for the final five minutes, Elma finished the game with a 23-5 spurt, but never came closer than the final margin.
“Toyra hit some big threes and we had some good-looking shots that didn’t drop,” Elma coach Lisa Johnson said. “(Our) energy was great and our effort was awesome. I can’t ask for anything more.”
Senior forward Talley had a solid all-around contest for Montesano, finishing with eight points, eight rebounds and six steals.
Elliott topped the Eagles with 17 points and nine rebounds. Although plagued by foul trouble, Johnston had eight points, while freshman Quin Mikel had seven points and nine boards for Elma.
Montesano 19 11 22 12 — 64 Elma 10 12 7 24 — 53
Montesano (64) — Bartlett 4, Talley 8, Toyra 18, Spradlin 22, Floch 7, Quinn 2, Lovell 2, Granstrom, Hutchings 1, Perkinson. FG — 24-72 (.333). FT — 9-18.
Elma (53) — Elliott 17, Sutherby, Neary 2, Mikel 7, Johnston 8, Olson 4, Johnson, Heller 3, Bieker, Rambo 6, Sackrider 6. FG — 21-59 (.356). FT — 11-14.
JV — Elma 57, Montesano 42.