After dying by the 3-pointer in the second quarter, Aberdeen’s girls lived by it in the second half on Saturday.
The Bobcats knocked down seven treys after intermission — four by Emily Fisher in the third quarter alone — in completing a season sweep of Hoquiam, 50-46, in a non-league girls basketball game at Hoquiam Square Garden.
Accounting for five of her team’s nine three-balls, Fisher led all scorers with 20 points. Senior classmate Kiana Dixon added 13, including the game-clinching free throws with nine seconds remaining.
Senior wing Brandi Creviston, hot from beyond the arc in the first half, paced Hoquiam with 13 points. Junior point guard Ellie Quercia had 12 points for the Grizzlies (6-8).
Aberdeen (7-6) has won four straight. Improved shooting has been the key to the turnaround, according to AHS coach Aaron Roiko.
“We’ve been playing great defense all year,” Roiko said. “When you start hitting the shots, you loosen up and play better.”
Three-point shooting was the difference in a contest that featured almost identical field-goal percentage and turnovers.
Ironically, it appeared at the half that the long-distance totals might favor Hoquiam. While the Bobcats hit only 1 of 10 from the field in the second quarter, Creviston was nailing three treys to rally the Grizzlies — down by 10 late in the first quarter — to a 23-19 halftime edge.
Fisher, however, quickly provided a preview of coming attractions by canning a three 20 seconds into the third quarter. That was the first of four such three-balls for the 5-foot-11 senior in the first five minutes. The last, launched from a good 10 feet beyond the arc, gave the Cats a 35-27 advantage with 3:02 remaining in the period. Dixon increased the margin to nine with another trey moments later.
“Boy, did Fisher put on a show in the third quarter,” Roiko marveled.
Hoquiam coach Mark Maxfield said his club could have done a better job rotating to defend Aberdeen’s 3-point shooters.
“After they hit a couple in the third quarter, that’s all we emphasized (in a timeout),” he said. “Either we didn’t do it, or Aberdeen did a good job of getting open. Our kids played hard. Sometimes you’ve got to give the shooters credit.”
To their credit, however, the Grizzlies did not go away.
Dixon provided Aberdeen’s ninth and final 3-pointer of the game to give the Cats a 48-41 lead with 2:24 remaining. But Quercia went 4-for-4 from the foul line to narrow the deficit to 48-45 with 49 seconds left.
The Grizzlies got the ball back on an AHS five-second violation and Kylie Stewart made one of two free throws at 0:34, with Fisher rebounding the missed second shot.
Hoquiam, which had been whistled for only three team fouls in the second half to that point, had to commit four more in the next 25 seconds simply to get the Bobcats to the foul line.
Dixon, Aberdeen’s best percentage foul shooter, wound up drawing the seventh team foul. She converted both ends of the one-and-one to put the game out of reach.
Fisher also contributed 13 rebounds and four steals, while Makenna Roiko handed out four assists.
Already short-handed due to injury and family commitments, the Bobcats suffered another setback when senior reserve Lily Walsh aggravated a knee injury in the second quarter. Coach Roiko commended Walsh for her attitude, Alexxi Timmons for defense and Erin Kuhn for providing a couple of key baskets in the fourth quarter.
Hoquiam’s performance, meanwhile, represented a significant upgrade over its 58-19 loss to Elma on Wednesday.
The versatile Quercia turned in a characteristically strong all-around showing, with seven rebounds, six steals and four assists. Stewart and Vanessa Doyle each grabbed six rebounds, while Mikaila Johnson blocked four shots.
The Grizzlies even drew the praise of Bobcat coach Roiko for their effort.
Both teams return to action in their respective leagues on Tuesday. The Bobcats host state-ranked Black Hills, while the Grizzlies take on Rainier in the first half of a coed doubleheader at the Garden.
Aberdeen 16 3 19 12 — 50
Hoquiam 13 10 10 13 — 46
Aberdeen (50) — Fisher 20, Timmons 8, Dixon 13, Roiko 5, Kuhn 4, Dietrich, Walsh, Johnson. FG — 18-51 (.353). FT — 5-7.
Hoquiam (46) — Quercia 12, Rose 4, Creviston 13, Johnson 2, Doyle 8, Stewart 5, Kramer 2, Parker, Burnett. FG — 18-52 (.346). FT — 7-14.
JV — Aberdeen 35, Hoquiam 33, OT. Aberdeen’s Mari Rabung, Jillian Swor and Briana Mao-Barry combined for first five points of overtime. Madisen Davis four points in overtime for Hoquiam.