Its offense didn’t take flight until the second half. But Elma’s defense left little doubt that a trip to the district girls championship game was forthcoming.
Elma’s defense completely overwhelmed Hoquiam as the Eagles cruised to a 70-21 victory in the semifinals of the District IV Class 1A Girls Basketball tournament on Feb. 10 at Hoquiam Square Garden.
The Eagles (20-1) will face defending champion La Center (also 20-1) in the district title game scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Rochester. The winner will not only claim the district championship but a regional berth.
Wednesday’s loser, however, will face the Montesano-Hoquiam winner in a winner-to-regionals, loser-out affair Saturday.
Hoquiam (10-12) took on Montesano in a loser-out game on Wednesday at Rochester.
The Vidette went to press before results were available.
The Eagles came out in a half-court trap on Feb. 10 that held Hoquiam to single digits for the first half. They limited the Grizzlies to four field goals for the contest.
That press also helped Elma get transition buckets but the Eagle offense didn’t really take off until the second half.
“We haven’t played for a week and a half. When you’re practicing for that long, it can get a little slow,” Elma coach Lisa Johnson said. “But it’s good to start districts out with a big win and now we’ll go for the next one.”
Although down 23-5 at the halftime break, Hoquiam head coach Mark Maxfield was cautiously optimistic about his team’s ability to keep the game close.
“Elma is an awfully good team so we knew it would be an uphill battle but I liked our first-half defense,” he said. “We only gave up 23 points in the first half but we ran out of steam a little bit in the second half.”
If the Grizzlies were losing steam on the defensive end, Jalyn Sackrider played a big role in sapping their energy. Sackrider’s 19 points, along with Molly Johnston’s 11 boards really created problems for Hoquiam in the paint.
Quin Mikel added 12 points for Elma.
While Hoquiam’s defense performed admirably early on, the offense was a different story. Elma’s length bothered them all night long as they struggled to complete passes or advance the ball past half-court for stretches of the game.
Karlie Krohn scored eight points for Hoquiam.
Maxfield said he wants to move on from his most recent defeat and re-focus.
“We’ve already forgotten about this one and we’re moving on to the next one on Wednesday,” he said.
Elma’s next game, meanwhile, should be more challenging. LaCenter boasts two players over six feet tall and has three players averaging double digit scoring.
Johnson said the Wildcats will be tough to handle.
“They’re a very good team and they’ve played together for a long time,” she said. “They have a good inside game and they have some good ball handlers so it will be a good challenge for us.”
Elma 16 7 24 23 — 70
Hoquiam 3 2 8 8 — 21
Elma (70) — Sackrider 19, Bieker 8, Burgher, Sutherby 9, Olson, Bol 9, Johnson 1, Mikel 12, Johnston 6, Rambo 4, Bridge, Whipple 2. FG — 26-50 (.520). FT — 17-27.
Hoquiam (21) — Jade Cox, Carlyle, Jump 5, Brydon, Hilliard, Bogdanovich, Jordan Cox, Krohn 8, Vonhof 3, Strom, German 4. FG — 4-42 (.095). FG — 4-42 (.095). FT— 12-27.