Kingston girls keep rolling past Port Townsend

Kingston High basketball player Elle Sander, left, protects the ball from Port Townsend
Kingston High basketball player Elle Sander, left, protects the ball from Port Townsend's Kerri Evalt Tuesday in Kingston.
— image credit: Brian J. Olson/Staff photo

KINGSTON — The Kingston High School girls basketball team found a second half spark and ran away with a 59-29 victory over Port Townsend Tuesday.

Kingston (9-4 overall, 8-1 league) beat the Lady Redskins by 39 points when the teams met earlier this season, but Port Townsend came out swinging Tuesday. The Redskins (2-11, 1-8) played staunch defense throughout the first half, keeping the Buccaneers away from the hoop and forcing 15 Kingston turnovers on the night.

“We pretty much had our way the first time we played them,” Kingston Head Coach Penny Geinger said. “This time their defense was better.”

Kingston and Port Townsend traded sparse baskets throughout the second quarter, as one and two point leads changed hands several times. By the end of the first half, the score was tied at 18 points apiece.

“We didn’t come with too much intensity tonight,” Geinger said. “I guess we thought it was a cake walk.”

Kingston guard Laura Wicklein said she and her teammates may have overlooked the Redskins after handily defeating them during their first matchup and winning by large margins over Olympic League opponents in recent weeks. The Bucs have not lost since Dec. 29, in a game at Lynden Christian High School.

“I think we were just really lackadaisical. We haven’t had many tough games in the last few weeks,” Wicklein said. “I think they just had more fire. They really wanted to make it a game, which they did.”

Kingston started the second half with renewed energy, going on a 9-1 run in the opening minutes of the third quarter. The Bucs went on to outscore Port Townsend 19-5 in the third quarter and 22-6 in the fourth to cement the victory.

Sophia Baetz led the Buccaneers with 29 points, four steals and three assists. Wicklein added 12 points, six rebounds and four assists. Port Townsend’s top scorer was Kiley Maag, who put up six points.

Geinger lauded the Buccaneers’ second-half effort.

“They decided to play like they were capable of playing,” she said.

The Buccaneers have won five straight games and sit in second place in the Olympic League. Their only league loss came Dec. 11 against Port Angeles (12-2 overall, 9-0 league), when the Roughriders tipped in a last-second shot to defeat Kingston, 56-54.

Kingston and Port Angeles meet again Jan. 26 in Port Angeles. Geinger and Wicklein feel the Buccaneers have improved since the last time they faced the Roughriders. Still, they admit the team has a long road ahead if they hope to return to the state tournament for the third year in a row. The Bucs have seven games left on their regular season schedule and must make it through tough league and district playoffs before they have a shot at state.

“We definitely have a lot to do before playoffs and state if we’re going to get to where we want to be,” Wicklein said. “We just need to treat every team like they’re our biggest opponent and go get ’em.”

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