MONTESANO — You can credit a big halftime speech or adjustments on the chalk board, but Elma’s boys and Montesano’s girls owned the third quarters in this Evergreen 1A coed basketball doubleheader on Friday.
The Eagle boys stepped up their defensive intensity to choke off the Bulldogs’ offense to turn an intensely played contest into a 60-33 victory.
The Monte girls also used defense to ignite their third-quarter run, but also got a big scoring push from freshman post Jordan Spradlin to top Elma, 59-42.
Bulldogs 59, Eagles 42
An extraordinarily tight first half delighted the Bo Griffith Memorial Gym crowd in the girls nightcap game. A featured matchup between Elma’s dribble-drive penetration offense against Montesano’s interior post game lived up to the billing.
Montesano grabbed a five-point first quarter lead, 14-9, off five straight points from Spradlin. Elma responded with a wafer-thin 15-13 second quarter paced by the perimeter shooting of sophomore guard Maddie Thompson. The Bulldogs got a mid-range jumper from junior Megan Choate to give themselves a 27-24 halftime lead.
Then, Montesano (3-0, 7-0) kept going and Elma (2-1, 5-4) stopped scoring.
Started by Spradlin’s post game and offensive-rebounding prowess, the Bulldogs found their offense to match their defensive intensity. The Eagles went 1-for-14 from the field as Monte went on a 16-2 run for a 43-26 lead with 1:59 left in the frame. Thompson hit two field goals in the quarter for Elma’s lone points. Spradlin knocked down 13 of her game-high 34 points in the third quarter. The freshman also pulled down 17 rebounds and swatted four blocks.
“We just had to keep pushing and had 16 more minutes to play,” Montesano head coach Julie Graves said. “We fought hard and it was a battle in the first half. We just had to continue to fight. I felt like we were able to push the ball at times and when it wasn’t there, we were able to execute in the half-court (set). Defensively, we played more zone in the first half. In the third, we played man-to-man, emphasizing on shutting off the drives. I thought we did a better job of finding the shooters in the second half.”
“We only scored (four) points; we always talk about the first four (minutes) of the first and second halves,” Elma head coach Lisa Johnson said. “We turned the ball over three straight times. It was an unfocused, no-energy, flat effort. That’s been our story of the third quarter all season. You can’t just come out and score (four) points in a quarter and expect to win, especially when it is a three-point halftime. We were attacking, getting into the paint in the first half. The third quarter was pretty much the deal breaker for us.”
Monte finished the third with a 47-38 lead and held a 51-28 advantage — a 24-4 run — with 6 1/2 minutes remaining. Elma got a quick six-point surge off two Montesano turnovers — Brooke Goldsmith braced two layups with a Lauren Thompson jumper — to snap the run.
Elma never got closer than 15 in the fourth quarter before both teams emptied their benches to give the reserves times on the floor.
Maddie Thompson led Elma with 16 points and Goldsmith added 13 to the total.
The intensity of a Montesano-Elma rivalry came up to the surface in the first half of this boys contest. A rough, physically played half saw both teams hack and slash each other inside the paint and inside the other team’s pressure defenses.
Elma (3-0, 5-3) used its perimeter shooting — 6-for-12 behind the 3-point line — in the first half to establish a hard-won 30-21 halftime lead. Elma senior guard Ryan Collin and senior forward Chance Bremer hit two 3-point shots each. Montesano stayed close with its interior offense and got to within three on three occasions in the quarter before the halftime deficit.
Coming out of halftime, the game turned Elma’s way by virtue of its pressure defense. The Bulldogs (1-2, 5-4) went 1-for-12 from the field in the third quarter, lost nine turnovers and were unable to get into their offense. On the other end of the court, the Eagles hit enough perimeter shots to force the hosts to expand their defense and balance the scoring inside.
“That was a slugfest; they let both teams play and it was a rough-and- tumble game where no one got hurt,” Elma head coach Marvin Prince said. “I felt like our defensive intensity picked up and kept them off-balanced. That was the tell-tale sign. We talked about it at halftime about using our defense to put them into some difficult situations and we did that in the second half.”
“We got a little bit scatter-brained and things went a little too quick,” Montesano head coach Doug Galloway said. “(Elma’s) pressure forced us out of everything we were doing. The pressure got to us. We were hoping they didn’t shoot so well from the perimeter and they weren’t so open from the perimeter. We have to be able to keep teams under 50 points in order to give ourselves a chance. We didn’t do that tonight.”
The 13-2 third quarter for Elma expanded into a 23-6 bulge — a 54-27 lead — with 4:05 left in the game. Rashad Lorton’s 3-point shot and driving layup ended the run, igniting a flood of reserves on the floor for both teams.
Lorton and Bremer led all scorers with 11 points each for Elma, which hit 9-for-18 from behind the 3-point line in the game. Kody Usher and Alex Hopsecger led Montesano with seven points each.
Elma (42) — M. Thompson 16, Farrar, Grant, Goldsmith 13, Cristelli, L. Thompson 4, Smythe 4, Hall 3, A. Thompson 1, Doyle 1, Lipska. FG — 16-65 (.246). FT — 7-19.
Montesano (59) — M. Floch 4, Bartlett, Schurr, Choate 7, Howard, Miller 4, S. Floch 6, Kloempken 2, Spradlin 34. FG — 22-55 (.400). FT — 14-30.
ELMA14161317—60 MONTE8132 10—33
Elma (60) — Collin 6, Nauman 5, Stark 8, Lorton 11, Osgood 2, Gilman 5, Bremer 11, Hamilton, Davis 4, Neary 8. FG — 20-48 (.417). FT — 11-18.
Montesano (33) — Truax 2, Usher 7, Chastain 4, Roy 6, Nelson 2, Herzog, Hopsecger 7, Chapman 2, Bialkowsky 3. FG — 12-45.(.267). FT — 7-14.