Turnovers kill GHC women in home debut

A disastrous start ensured an unhappy ending for the Grays Harbor College women.

Committing turnovers on their opening eight possessions, the Chokers fell into a deep hole and never recovered in a 69-39 loss to Lower Columbia in an NWAACC Western Division women’s basketball contest Saturday at Sam Benn Gym.

Making their home debut, the Chokers (0-2, 4-7) didn’t even launch a shot until the contest was 3 1/2 minutes old. Operating against an aggressive LCC man-to-man defense, they were credited with 18 turnovers in the first half and 33 for the contest.

“We just don’t take care of the ball. We haven’t the last couple of games,” Grays Harbor coach Christine Nelson said. “We have to play with a lot more passion. We don’t value the ball.”

The Chokers actually did a fair job of minimizing the damage early. When Bobbi Britt hit GHC’s first field-goal attempt at the 16:29 mark of the first half, Lower Columbia led only 7-2.

The Red Devils then began zeroing in from the perimeter, knocking down 10 three-point shots in the contest. Grays Harbor’s ball-handling woes, meanwhile, continued unabated, prompting Nelson to call three timeouts in the first 10 minutes and substitute with dizzying frequency.

Natasha Marith hit consecutive three-balls and Kayvonne Vaver scored 11 points in the first half to lead Lower Columbia (1-1, 8-6) to a 37-15 halftime bulge.

So pronounced was the deficit that after Britt, Sheleena Giles and Wenda Poleo combined on an 11-0 run midway through the second half, the Red Devils still owned a 20-point lead (50-30).

Kelso High graduate Marith — 4-of-9 from 3-point range — led LCC’s balanced attack with 14 points. Vaver came off the bench to add 13 points.

“That’s a good team,” Nelson said of the Red Devils. “I think they’re one of the top teams in our division.”

Britt, who has specialized in double-doubles this season, attained that distinction again with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Bianca Russell’s eight points and 13 boards represented another Choker highlight.

The Chokers will be back in action Monday at home against Tacoma Community College.

Lower Columbia (69) — Hibbs 11, Marith 14, Farmer 7, Smith 5, Y. Pritchitt 4, Vaver 13, T. Pritchitt 3, Kary 4, Locke 4, Teeters 4. FG — 25-69 (.362). FT — 9-10.

Grays Harbor (39) — Rydman, Britt 14, Poleo 8, Russell 8, Giles 3, Maneman 2, Carmody 2, Starr, Swisher, Patterson 2, Dotson. FG — 17-46 (.370). FT — 5-12.

Halftime: Lower Columbia 37, Grays Harbor 15.