ELMA — A scrappy, defensive and spirited non-league basketball game broke out at Elma High School on Tuesday. It was just how Raymond liked it.
The Gulls’ defense stepped up from the opening tip and pressured the Eagles out of the gym with 30 turnovers to produce a resounding 67-31 victory.
Marvin So led all scorers with 10 points for a remarkably balanced Raymond offensive unit. Chance Bremer led Elma with eight points.
“Tonight, we brought it all night long,” Raymond head coach Mike Tully said. “I told the kids in the locker room that this was definitely the best defensive game they’ve played from start to finish. There are still some things to work on, but we did a really nice job of putting pressure on. The aggressiveness, with their speed, it makes it easy to put together a defense that has that speed and the guys who are aggressive to get after it.”
“We don’t rebound, we turn the ball over, we don’t rebound, we turn the ball over, we don’t rebound, we turn the ball over,” Elma head coach Marvin Prince chanted. “We had zero confidence. It is very frustrating, because there is a good team in there … We saw it against Aberdeen, played well. We saw it down (in Raymond), played well. Now we’re on our heels and it is a test of pride and character right now.”
Elma got the opening basket off the tip-off, a Bremer layup 10 seconds into the game. Alex Sida got Raymond on the board on its first possession inside and the Gulls defense stepped up.
Turnovers marked the Eagle offense, either steals that led to chances at the other end of the court or thrown-away balls in the face of half-court traps and tight man-to-man defense. The Gulls (4-0) took advantage, turning a modest 6-4 lead with 4 minutes to go in the quarter into a 21-6 bulge at the end.
So knocked home two straight 3-point shots to push the lead for Raymond, with Alec Oatfield converting a steal into a basket and two big shots from Darol Ratsavongsy.
Bremer, who looked like he was going to have a battle on his hands in the paint against Ratsavongsy and Andrew Hamilton, picked up a quick two fouls and missed the rest of the first quarter. He returned to do battle with Raymond’s post players for the remainder of the contest.
Raymond’s offensive woes kept the Gulls from extending the lead in the second quarter, but the defense didn’t let up on Elma (0-5). The Gulls’ rebounding prowess gave them extra chances and limited the Eagles to one-and-done possessions.
Raymond led 31-12 at halftime.
The second half was much the same for both teams. Elma got some of its offense going in the third quarter, but so did Raymond. The fourth quarter saw the visitors re-establish their defensive dominance with a game-ending 19-4 frame.
Raymond came away with 28 offensive rebounds, led by Ratsavongsy’s 11 overall and Hamilton’s 10. The Gulls’ statistics showed that out of the 30 turnovers forced, 21 of them came off Raymond steals. Carte Bisbee and So each had four steals and Oatfield three steals for the Gulls.
“I’ll take 21 steals any night of the week,” Tully added.
On Friday, Elma hits the road to begin Evergreen 1A play at Tenino. On Saturday, Raymond starts up Pacific 2B League competition at home against North Beach.
Ray 21 10 17 19 — 67 Elma 6 6 15 4 — 31
Raymond (67) — So 10, Maneman 1, Bisbee 6, Oatfield 7, Newman 8, Flemetis 2, Murdock 6, Sida 2, J. Hamilton 6, Ratsavongsy 9, A. Hamilton 8. FG — 25-77 (.325). FT — 13-18.
Elma (31) — Collin 6, Farr 4, Nauman 2, Sayler, Stark 3, Horton 2, Osgood 2, Bremer 8, Stevens 2, Wilson 2. FG — 12-53 (.226). FT — 2-4.
JV — Elma 62, Raymond 36.