ELMA — Pressure defense has made Elma’s transition into Evergreen 1A League competition very smooth.
Forcing 14 Tenino turnovers in the opening quarter, the Eagle girls crushed the Beavers, 62-22, in the second half of a league coed basketball doubleheader Tuesday night at Elma.
Also strong on the defensive end, Elma’s boys blew open a tight contest in the second half in registering a 64-46 triumph in the opening game.
Both Elma teams will head into the holiday break 2-0 in league play. They will compete in the Seaside Holiday Tournament beginning Thursday.
Eagles 62, Beavers 22
Although their focus inevitably waned a bit later, the Eagles (2-0, 3-1) turned the opening quarter into a showcase for their running, pressing style.
Having difficulty even advancing the ball past mid-court, the Beavers committed five turnovers in the opening 2:08.
Matters scarcely improved for the visitors later. Lauren Thompson scored eight points in the first quarter, while Brooke Goldsmith, Maddie Thompson and Sydney Smythe knocked down 3-pointers in staking the Eagles to a 22-3 break at the first break.
“That’s how we want to play for four quarters: Come out and get after it,” Elma coach Lisa Johnson noted. “The defense is scrapping, hustling, working, getting 20 points in the first quarter. It’s a great way to start.”
Tenino wound up with 23 turnovers in the first half and 33 for the game. The latter total undoubtedly would have increased had not the final 11:32 been played under the 40-point running clock regulation. The Beavers mustered only six field goals for the contest.
Elma’s 35 percent field-goal shooting won’t win many medals and Johnson wasn’t happy with her club’s rebounding or penchant for fouling. Overall, however, the Elma coach said she continues to see progress in her young team’s performance.
Senior floor leader Goldsmith came up with seven steals and seven assists to go with her team-high 16 points.
Maddie Thompson contributed 11 points and her sister Lauren added 10 for Elma. Reserve Taryn Farrar grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and was praised by Johnson for her defensive play. Bethany Lipska was also cited for her play off the bench.
Six-one junior post Taylor Tibbetts was virtually a one-woman show for Tenino, with 15 points and a slew of rebounds.
Eagles 64, Beavers 46
The turnover difference also proved crucial in this contest.
Particularly effective with an aggressive man-to-man, Elma (2-0, 2-1) had a hand in 21 Tenino miscues. The Eagles, meanwhile, were guilty of only 11 turnovers of their own.
That enabled Elma to overcome a 36-28 rebounding deficit.
Up 26-22 at the end of a raggedly contested first half, the Eagles forced turnovers on Tenino’s opening four possessions of the third quarter. They converted three of them.
After Rashad Lorton took a pass from Ryan Collin for a lay-in and Ray Stark nailed a three from the top of the key, Lorton picked a Tenino ball-handler clean and soloed for a lay-up. He missed the shot, but Collin put in the rebound.
That increased the lead to 33-22. The Eagles were up by as many as 20 early in the fourth quarter.
“We played much better in the second half,” Elma coach Marvin Prince said. “We did a much better job of executing the offense and, defensively, we did a much better job of picking up the pressure. We’re happy to have the W. At the same time, we have a lot to improve on.”
Prince had to be pleased with his team’s balance. Collin, Lorton and senior post Chance Bremer tallied 11 points apiece, with Collin handing out eight assists and Bremer garnering five rebounds.
Lorton’s chest-to-chest defense, in which he seldom allowed any separation between himself and the ball-handler, was one of the game’s highlights — although a source of frustration to the Tenino coaches, who were incredulous that he could employ that style without fouling. The senior transfer from Hoquiam came up with three steals, as did Collin.
Prince took pains to praise the play of Stark, who does much of the Elma ball-handling and has committed only three turnovers all season.
Nihls Peterson, Tenino’s 6-5 sophomore center, paced all scorers with 17 points.
Both Elma teams will face Oregon opponents in the Seaside tourney Thursday afternoon, with the boys taking on Sisters and the girls opposing Estacada.
Ten 8 14 9 15 — 46
Elma 13 13 19 19 — 64
Tenino (46) — Guzman 3, Bailon 6, Peterson 17, O’Brian 8, Davido, Jones 4, Engebreth 2, Pier, Caldwell 2, Hisaw 4, Herd. FG — 14-40 (.350). FT — 16-22.
Elma (64) — Collin 11, Nauman 8, Stark 8, Lorton 11, Bremer 11, Gilman 5, Emerson 6, Hamilton, Davis, Neary 4. FG — 24-57 (.421). FT — 9-11.
Ten 3 10 4 5 — 22
Elma 22 19 14 7 — 62
Tenino (22) — Vens 2, Bronson 1, Tibbetts 15, Richardson 2, Richards, Gubbe 1, Cantrell, Masters 1, Dowies. FG — 6-32 (.188). FT — 10-22.
Elma (62) — M. Thompson 11, Goldsmith 16, Cristelli 4, L. Thompson 10, Smythe 3, Farrar 2, Grant, Hall 6, A. Thompson 4, Doyle, Lipska 6. FG — 22-63 (.349). FT — 13-24.