Kingston nets decisive win against Roughriders

KINGSTON — That’s no typo on the Kingston Buccaneers varsity girls’ basketball roster. Sophia Baetz, the 5-foot, 7-inch point guard who led the team’s 58-38 win against Port Angeles on Jan. 4 really is a freshman.

After a mellow first half, the Bucs were leading 24-20. It was obvious Head Coach Kevin Strozier made some adjustments at halftime because the team that finished the game was not the same as the team that started it.

Baetz and 6-foot, 1-inch senior Riley Watts took the lead on offense and defense respectively, complimenting each other perfectly. Watts set the tone for a successful in-your-face defense that sent the Bucs to the freethrow line 11 times in the second half alone. Two of those freethrows were Port Angeles technical fouls.

The defense also sent senior Sara Hock, point guard for the Roughriders, on a one-way trip to the bench after she drew her fifth foul in the fourth quarter.

Watts held up her end of the deal on offense, scoring 10 points for the Bucs. After building a comfortable 50-36 cushion, the Bucs iced the cake when Baetz intercepted a Roughrider pass, then cruised down the court untouched for a textbook layup.

“We needed to step it up, so I did,” Baetz said.

The Bucs also had to play a different style of game to keep up with the Roughriders’ aggressive play.

“They are an aggressive team, so we just had to play aggressive, too,” Baez said.

Watts agreed with that testimate.

“They’re really scrappy,” she said.

Watts’ inspiration to not hold anything back on the court is that, as a senior, she only gets to suit up for the Bucs for one season. “I try to give it my all because this is my last year,” she said.

Strozier was pleased with the end result and his team is learning from each game and applying those lessons learned.

“I think we did a great job. I’m proud of these kids,” Strozier said.

He also did some soul searching over the break and came back with a new attitude and mantra: one game at a time.

“We’re starting off the year on a good note. We’ll just see what happens if we take things one game at a time,” Strozier said. “We’re starting to play like the team we are.”

Strozier’s sometimes animated and always entertaining coaching style will remain the same.

“I’ll still be who I am, I’ll just do things a little different,” he said.

Also scoring for the Bucs were Laura Wicklein, 8; Arissan Ugles, 6; Kira Markey and Aubin Duncan, 4; Kelle Taplin and Ashley Redican, 3; and Stephanie Eadie, 2.

The Bucs next home game is at 7 p.m. Jan. 18 against Bremerton.

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