A Saturday afternooon matinee doubleheader showcased two talented group of basketball teams at Elma High School.
In the opener, Elma’s Brooke Goldsmith took over the game in the second half to lead the Eagles past the Bobcats, 64-51.
The nightcap was a tight affair as well before the Aberdeen boys took advantage of multiple trips to the free-throw line to knock off Elma, 60-51.
Bobcats 60, Eagles 51
Both coaches said it and the statistical line proved it — games are won and lost on the free-throw line.
For the game, Aberdeen knocked home 21-of-34 free throws to Elma’s 1-for-4 attempts. In the pivotal fourth quarter alone, the Bobcats (6-8) converted 10-for-19 from the charity stripe to blow open a one-point game after three quarters.
“We’ve been shooting the free throws really well, especially in the last week or two,” AHS head coach Leonard Barnes said. “We’ve been shooting better since the Hoquiam game, where we lost the game at the line. We didn’t take care of business then. We did a great job there tonight.”
“The game was won at the free-throw line — Aberdeen had 21 of 34 and we were 1 for 4, 20 points,” Elma head coach Marvin Prince said. “Our kids played their asses off. I could not be more proud of them. We’ve been struggling as of late and we showed an awful lot of poise tonight. The energy brought to the floor, the confidence brought to the floor, that’s what we’ve seen in the first half of the season and has been missing lately. If we can sustain that, great. That’s what we need to do.”
Elma held a 41-40 lead after three quarters and both teams were prepared for a battle in the final frame. The fights were done at the free-throw line.
The Eagles racked up fouls as the Bobcats drove to the basket and pulled in rebounds. Even with the visitors at the line, the hosts were still in the game. Aberdeen were just 6-for-12 from the line with 3:13 left after Elma’s Devon Gilman hit a driving layup to narrow the Bobcat lead to 50-49.
On its next possession, Aberdeen got a three-point play from Austin Floch’s drive to the basket and a 53-49 lead. From there, the Bobcats scored seven of the final nine points of the game to seal the win.
Aberdeen found itself in a fight with Elma, which struggled offensively against league opponent Forks and non-league foe Raymond in recent games. Prince was especially proud of his team’s effort and drive, which resulted in a 13-10 first-quarter lead and a 29-28 halftime margin.
The Eagles hit five of their six 3-point baskets in the first half and those long-range bombs erased the Bobcats’ 8-for-10 free throws in the same span. Aberdeen’s defense keyed on Elma’s perimeter shooters in the second half, but Bremer found more chances in response.
Floch led all scorers with 21 points and six rebounds, with Lorenzo Ontiveros pulled in six rebounds and Deon Schlesser five rebounds for Aberdeen. Bremer led Elma in scoring with 13 points, nine of them in the paint in the second half.
Coach Barnes cited Payton Campbell and Veek Cheema for their work coming off the bench.
On Tuesday, Aberdeen re-enters Evergreen 2A play at home against Tumwater. On Wednesday, Elma takes on East County rival Montesano at home.
Aberdeen 10 18 12 20 — 60
Elma 13 16 12 10 — 51
Aberdeen (60) — Campbell 9, Edwards 5, Follett 21, Floch 7, Schlesser 5, Cheema, Black 2, Ontiveros 7, Taylor, Craig 4. FG — 19-37. FT — 21-34.
Elma (51) — Collin 5, Nauman 6, Stark 7, Lorton 7, Gilman 9, Osgood, Bremer 13, Davis 2, Neary 2. FG — 22-58. FT — 1-4.
JV — Aberdeen 57, Elma 48.
C Squad — Aberdeen 31, Elma 24.
Eagles 64, Bobcats 51
After a tight, intense first half that featured five ties and seven lead changes, Elma was clinging to a 31-28 lead.
The Bobcats opened the second half with a 5-2 scoring spurt. Kiana Dixon and Alexxi Timmons each hit a deep two-point jumper for Aberdeen. A free throw by Rylee Riekkola capped the run and tied the game at 33
Led by Goldsmith, the Eagles responded swiftly and decisively.
Elma (11-4) outscored Aberdeen 20-6 in the third quarter after the Bobcats tied it up at 33. Goldsmith scored 11 of her game-high 29 points in the third quarter. Maddie Thompson and Bethany Lipska added four points apiece during that stretch. Thompson finished the game with 17 points, including three 3-pointers.
“Our defense was super-flat to start the game,” Elma head coach Lisa Johnson said. “Our energy level wasn’t where it needed to be. We knew we needed to come out in the third quarter and play Elma defense and Elma basketball. Our defense picked up and our intensity picked up and that really feeds our offense. When Brooke started attacking the hoop she couldn’t be stopped.”
Goldsmith was cited by Johnson for her all-around play. In addition to her 29 points, the senior guard pulled down 13 rebounds, recorded four steals and dished out six assists. Goldsmith displayed impressive speed, quickness and elevation while attacking the basket.
“Elma came out and just took over in the third quarter,” Aberdeen head coach Aaron Roiko said. “We didn’t have any answer for Brooke Goldsmith. She attacked the rim and got points. They deserved to win. They won the key quarter, the third quarter.”
Aberdeen (7-8) did manage to cut its deficit to 10 a couple of times in the fourth quarter. A Timmons free throw cut Elma’s lead to 55-45 midway through the period and a pair of free throws by Kiana Dixon made it 59-49 a few minutes later. However, the Bobcats were not able to cut the Eagles’ lead into single-digits.
Dixon led Aberdeen with 15 points. Dixon, Timmons and Emily Fisher were cited by Roiko for their overall play.
Both teams will be back in action on Tuesday. Aberdeen will travel to Tumwater. Elma will get a shot at a share of the Evergreen 1A League lead when it hosts rival Montesano.
Aberdeen 14 14 11 12 — 51
Elma 12 19 22 11 — 64
Aberdeen (51) – Fisher 12, Timmons 5, Riekkola 1, Dixon 15, Roiko 2, Kuhn 11, Johnson 1, Blackburn 4. FG – 11-36 (.306). FT – 21-35.
Elma (64) – M. Thompson 17, Farrar, Goldsmith 29, Cristelli, L Thompson, Smythe, Hall 8, A. Thompson, Doyle 6, Lipska 4. FG – 24-75 (.320). FT – 11-19.