Tacoma goes on a scoring drought, but survives GHC rally, 70-61

A night of turnovers for Grays Harbor College was nearly salvaged by the hot shooting from Bobbi Britt and a game-ending cold streak by Tacoma on Monday night.

The Chokers settled themselves in the second half long enough to trim a 13-point deficit down to four with 3 1/2 minutes left before the visiting Titans hit their free throws to survive for a 70-61 NWAACC Western Division women’s basketball win at Sam Benn Gym.

Britt, who nearly had a double-double in the first half, led all scorers with 28 points and 14 rebounds for GHC (0-3, 4-8). Bianca Russell nearly got a double-double herself with nine points and 14 rebounds.

“Bobbi is a (scoring) beast,” GHC head coach Christine Nelson said. “She, along with Bianca, had fantastic games tonight. They brought a lot of hustle, a lot of energy tonight. I thought we played much better defense in the second half. We adjusted well to their offense and the girls played with more intensity. It is hard to play that intensity in a 2-3 zone, but they did a great job.”

Grays Harbor was lucky to find itself down by just 13 (57-43) with 10:39 left in the second half. The Chokers would finish the contest with 37 turnovers, 21 of them in the first half, and had trouble getting into an offensive rhythm — except for Britt, who scored 12 and pulled down nine rebounds. Tacoma led, 40-27, at halftime, but didn’t shoot well nor look comfortable doing it.

GHC freshman forward Sheleena Giles went down with a significant knee injury after going for a rebound with 11:07 left in the game and was carried off the court. GHC called timeout with 10 minutes left, after Tacoma’s Alexus Grant (team-high 16 points) hit a driving layup for a 57-43 score.

Following the timeout, the Chokers’ zone defense rebounded from the loss of Giles and got aggressive, forcing bad shots from the Titans. Britt nailed three driving jumpers, with Russell getting a long-range jumper down and and Mallory Maneman making a free throw to begin the comeback.

Ashli Starr’s inside basket with 3:24 remaining marked a 13-3 run over a seven-minute span and trimmed the deficit to 60-56 — the smallest deficit for GHC since early in the contest. Unfortunately for the Chokers, this would be as close as they would get to the Titans.

From Starr’s basket, the Titans hit 8-for-8 free-throw attempts and got their final field goal of the game late on a steal to come away with the win.

“It is hard, when you are sitting in that 2-3 zone, and it is taking them 20-30 seconds to get a shot off,” Nelson said. “At that point, time was going to run out, so we went man defense and put more pressure to get the ball back. I hate it when you foul and they hit their free throws. It is the only way to stop the clock and they knocked down free throws under pressure. We took the chance and they knocked them down.”

On Saturday, Grays Harbor returns to action at Centralia College.

Tacoma College (70) — Strickland 12, Reed 3, Jacinto 5, Grant 16, Polk 14, Sanchez 11, Saunders 2, Ramirez 2, Amundson 2, Lofton 3. FG — 25-67 (.379). FT — 17-20.

Grays Harbor College (61) — Maneman 3, Rydman 1, Britt 28, Starr 9, Swisher 5, Poleo 2, Patterson, Russell 9, Dotson, Giles 4. FG — 24-59 (.407). FT — 11-15.

Halftime: Tacoma 40, Grays Harbor College 27.