Monte, Elma girls get 2 big wins each

Area teams dominate.

The Montesano girls basketball team responded to last week’s overtime loss with two resounding victories: over Castle Rock last Thursday and over winless Aberdeen on Monday.

Montesano 70, Castle Rock 35

Coming off their first loss of the season, the Montesano Bulldogs showed smothering, aggressive defense to rout Castle Rock 70-35 Dec. 6 at home.

Monte ran their full-court press and got a number of steals to start the game, which led to transition layups.

Monte’s Lexi Lovell was one of the defensive leaders with six steals to go along with her 15 points.

Lovell layup

“We came out with better energy than we did last night,” Monte head coach Julie Graves said, referencing Wednesday’s loss to Rochester. “We wanted to come out early and get some steals for some easy looks at the basket right off the bat and we did that.”

As the lead grew in the first half, Monte kept the pressure up and took a 38-20 lead into halftime. In addition to the success they found running the floor, the team got points running plays out of the half-court offense.

Bulldogs center Zoe Hutchings put up a team-leading 17 points, with most of her buckets coming on plays in the post.

Graves said she liked the ball movement she saw from her team when they slowed down the pace.

“I thought we did a better job in the half-court tonight than we did the first couple of games,” she said. “We had better ball movement, and we were getting the ball from one side to the other and getting it from inside to outside.”

The Rockets didn’t find too much success on offense in the second half either. Castle Rock scored six points in the third quarter when Monte returned to the full-court press.

Castle Rock’s Brooke Wirkkala was one of the few players able to score against Monte’s aggressive defense, leading the Rockets with 13 points.

Granstrom dribble

Montesano guard Katie Granstrom said her team is starting to click at the right time and is feeling good.

“I think we’re really getting used to each other and finding out what works for each player,” she said. “We just want to make the passes we need to hit open shots and be selfless.”

Montesano 18 20 16 16 — 70

Castle Rock 8 12 6 8 – 34

Top Players: Granstrom (12 pts., 7 rebs., 4 stls), Lovell (15 pts., 6 stls., 4 assts.), Glory Grubb (5 assts., 4 stls.); Castle Rock— Wirkkala (13 pts.), Zoe Naugie (10 pts.).

Montesano 58, Aberdeen 25

On Monday night, the Bulldogs (4-1) led by 24 points at the end of the first quarter and cruised to victory over the Bobcats at Aberdeen High School.

Granstrom led the way for the Bulldogs, filling up the stat sheet with eight points, seven rebounds, seven steals and four assists. The senior was nearly perfect, 6-for-7, from the free-throw line.

Hutchings and Lovell led Monte (3-1 overall) in points, scoring 13 and 12, respectively.

The Montesano trio of Granstrom, Lovell and Matti Ekerson combined for 19 steals. In addition to Granstrom’s aforementioned seven swipes, Lovell and Ekerson had six steals apiece.

Monte’s defense limited the rebuilding Aberdeen squad to 12-of-46 shooting on the night.

Aberdeen junior guard Annetthe Orona led the Bobcats (0-5) with seven points. Sophomore forward Skyler Taylor added six points for the Bobcats.

Monte got little time to rest. The team played Black Hills on the road Tuesday, but the game was over too late to make this edition.

Aberdeen prepares for their second and final showdown this season with Myrtle Street rival Hoquiam. The two face off at 7 p.m. Friday in Aberdeen.

Montesano 28 8 11 11 — 58

Aberdeen 4 6 8 7 — 25

Top Players: Montesano — Hutchings (13 pts.), Lovell (12 pts., 6 stl.), Glory Grubb (9 pts.), Granstrom (8 pts., 7 reb., 7 stl., 4 asst.), Ekerson (4 pts., 6 stl., 5 reb.), Paige Lisherness (7 reb.). Aberdeen — Orona 7 pts.), Taylor (6 pts.), Kennedy Pruett (4 pts.), Kaely Chum (4 pts.).

The Elma girls basketball team got two dominating wins, blowing out Centralia on Dec. 5 and over King’s Way Christian on Saturday.

Elma 67, Centralia 23

Elma came out the gate strong with a 14-0 run and never looked back in its home win against Centralia on Wednesday night.

Elma racked up 29 steals in the contest using a high-pressure defense that has become a staple for the Eagles this season.

Quin Mikel, who scored 12 points and was one of four players in double figures for the Eagles, said the transition game looked as good as it had all season.

Quin MIkel layup

“We’ve been getting a lot of steals but we haven’t converted them into points all of the time,” she said. “Tonight we converted them so it worked out really well for us tonight.”

Centralia (0-3) looked to come out aggressive with a full-court press of its own, but the Eagles had success breaking the press and hitting the open player to jump start the transition game. Kali Rambo found success running the floor and finishing at the rim and finished the night with 12 points.

The Tigers switched to a half court man-to-man defense and the Eagles continued to find success moving the ball to guards who were cutting to the lane for layups. Elma ran its half-court offense for most of the second quarter and came away with 15 points in the frame for a 38-16 lead at the half.

Elma head coach Lisa Johnson said she liked how under control her team was.

“We want to play up-tempo, but it’s about keeping it under control. I think we did a really good job of doing that tonight instead of throwing it crazily around the gym.”

Elma also won the rebound battle 42-27 with center Jalyn Sackrider grabbing 11. Her six offensive rebounds were a big impact on the scoreboard as she led the team with 15 points.

Sackrider post

Mikel said the team has the right amount of confidence.

“We’re pretty confident, and we’re ready for the next game,” she said. “We’re not going to go in too high, thinking we’re better. And we’re going to show up and work hard.”

Centralia 9 7 4 3 — 23

Elma 23 15 15 14 — 67

Top Players: Sackrider (15 pts. 11 rebs.), Mikel (12 pts., 6 stls.), Jillian Bieker (12 pts., 5 stls.), Kali Rambo (12 pts., 6 stls.)

Elma 44, King’s Way Christian 23

The Elma Eagles used a stifling defense and had balanced scoring to earn a victory over previously unbeaten King’s Way Christian on Saturday in Vancouver.

Sackrider scored a team-high 11 points for the Eagles offense that had four players score at least seven points.

Mikel was close behind Sackrider with 10 points followed by Molly Johnston (8 points) and Rambo (7 pts.).

Elma’s defense held the Knights to eight points through the first three quarters and held a 28-4 lead at halftime. The Eagles forced an eye-catching 30 turnovers for the game.

“Our defense was on point,” Elma head coach Lisa Saila said. “Team defense was the key to this win.”

Abby Cummins led the Knights (3-1) with nine points on the evening.

With the victory, Elma keeps its undefeated record intact at 5-0.

The Eagles faced Cascade Christian on Tuesday at Elma High School. The game ended too late to make this edition.

Elma 14 14 7 9 — 44

King’s Way 1 3 4 15 — 23

Top Players: Elma — Sackrider (11 pts.), Mikel (10 pts.), Johnston (8 pts.), Rambo (7 pts.); KWC — Cummins (9 pts.), MacKenzie Ellerston (5 pts.)