Hoquiam’s girls found a cure for what ailed them on the court to scratch a seven-year itch against their arch-rivals.
Chelsy Stewart scored eight of her 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Grizzlies upended the injury-riddled Bobcats, 64-56, in a non-league girls basketball game Thursday night at Sam Benn Gym.
This was Hoquiam’s first girls victory over its trans-Myrtle Street rivals since a 47-35 victory in 2006. It also ended a recent skid in which the Grizzlies (10-5) had lost four of their previous seven this season.
For Aberdeen, it was a triumph of sorts to make it through this game without another serious injury. The Bobcats (8-6) played without starters Alexxi Timmons, who is out for the season with a broken ankle, and Ericka Manwell, who will be obtaining a second opinion on a potential season-ending knee injury next week.
Aberdeen wing Kiana Dixon, who broke her nose in last Tuesday’s game at Black Hills, played with a protective face mask and grabbed eight rebounds.
Hoquiam was far from full strength, either. Three players who are part of their normal rotation — Tiffani Dhooghe, Carli Mode and Vanessa Doyle — were out due to illness.
Absences or not, this had to be one of Hoquiam’s better performances of the season. The Grizzlies shot 46 percent from the field — 52 percent in the first half. Their final scoring total, in fact, represented a season high.
“I thought we grew up, played the game (hard) and took what the defense gave us,” HHS coach Chad Allan said. “I thought the chemistry was improved and the effort was great.”
Stewart completed a double-double with 11 rebounds. Hoquiam also received a stellar effort from sophomore point guard Ellie Quercia, who contributed 15 points, six rebounds and six steals and handled the ball smoothly against the Bobcat press.
Aberdeen’s perimeter shooting, meanwhile, was missing in action for most of the night. The Bobcats failed to connect on their first 13 three-point attempts. Junior forward Emily Fisher snapped that drought by putting down a trio of three-balls in the third quarter, but Aberdeen went cold again from long range in the final stanza as the Grizzlies switched from a zone to a man-to-man midway through the third period.
The Cats shot only 25 percent from the field.
“With the injuries, it was like who was going to step up and take the shot,” Aberdeen coach Aaron Roiko said. “Give Hoquiam credit. They came in here and played pretty decent. Chad doesn’t get the credit he deserves.”
Fisher led all scorers with 21 points, while Mo Donovan added 13 points and Tiana Blackburn 12 for the Bobcats.
The Grizzlies led from the midway point of the first quarter, but demonstrated their poise by withstanding a second-half AHS comeback.
Down by as many as 11 late in the second quarter, the Bobcats closed to within one, 44-43, on Fisher’s conventional three-point play to open the final period.
Hoquiam’s Olivia Rose got behind the Bobcat press for a breakaway layin on the ensuing inbound pass. Stewart then nailed a pull-up jumper and went coast-to-coast for a layin that made it 50-43 with 5:39 remaining.
Despite missing some free-throw opportunities (although in the bonus from late in the third quarter, they were only 9-of-21 from the stripe in the second half), the Grizzlies led by at least four the rest of the way. Quercia and Jessica Madison finally hit foul shots in the final minute to seal the victory.
Quercia was the key performer in the first half, scoring 12 points to help Hoquiam own a 32-23 advantage.
Hoquiam’s Brandi Creviston hit three treys to finish with 13 points. The speedy Rose added seven points, six rebounds and five steals.
Blackburn grabbed 10 rebounds and Fisher swiped five steals for Aberdeen. Junior Lily Walsh, getting a start in the absence of Timmons and Manwell, dished out five assists.
The Grizzlies return to Evergreen 1A League play tonight at home against Forks. The Bobcats host Elma in a Saturday afternoon contest.
Hoq 18 14 12 20 — 64 Aber 8 15 17 16 — 56
Hoquiam (64) — Quercia 15, Rose 7, Creviston 13, C. Stewart 19, Madison 3, Parker, Johnson 5, Bradley, K. Stewart 2. FG — 23-50 (.460). FT — 14-29.
Aberdeen (56) — Fisher 21, Dixon 2, Walsh 2, Blackburn 12, Donovan 13, Schermer, Laird 2, Roiko 2, Utto-Galarneau 2. FG — 17-68 (.250). FT — 19-28.
JV — Aberdeen 39, Hoquiam 38. Makenna Roiko 18 points for Aberdeen. Kylie Stewart nine points for Hoquiam.