PA girls rain on CK's parade

"It’s hard to keep up when you’re struggling to put points on the scoreboard — especially when the other team’s scoring them three at a time.The Central Kitsap High School girls basketball team managed a season-best 48 points Friday night (Dec. 10) against defending Olympic League champion Port Angeles. But the Cougars continued their season-long struggle to get untracked and dropped a 69-48 decision on their home floor.The Roughriders, meanwhile, had no trouble putting up points. They scored in transition and off the offensive boards. But they were especially lethal from 3-point range, where they hit a torrid 10 of 14.“That’s pretty darn good,” Central Kitsap coach Denise Baxter understated after her team suffered its third loss in four starts and its second straight against league opposition. “There aren’t many teams that are going to shoot the 3-pointer like that.”Baxter better hope not. When the Cougars sagged back on defense, PA’s Erika Ralston (4 of 5 from threeland) and Lindsay Sather (3 of 3) made them pay from long range (Mandy Wood added a pair of treys and freshman Ashley Payne knocked in still another). And when the Cougs tried to get out and defend the 3-ball, the ’Riders slashed past them for layups.It was a dizzying and deadly combination.“They can really make a defense work,” Baxter said of the Roughriders (2-0 in league, 2-1 overall). “They can hit the 3, and they can take it to the hole.At the top of its game, Central might’ve been able to offer more of a challenge. But while the Cougars weren’t as discombobulated as in their Dec. 7 loss to Class 2A Port Townsend, they still were error-prone and inconsistent.Still, Baxter saw light at the end of the tunnel, saying she saw “good things out of just about everybody tonight.“We still haven’t gotten it all together, but it’s real early in the season,” Baxter said. “I’m not worried at all.”The difference in the Cougs from the first half to the second was noticeable. After falling behind 33-18, CK scored 18 points in the third quarter as senior Leana Abille fired up for eight of her 10 points on the evening.There was just no stopping Port Angeles, however. The Roughriders countered with 20 points, including back-to-back treys by Wood that more than negated a four-point Cougar burst to open the half. PA made four 3-balls in the quarter.Offensively, Central flowed for a few minutes, then ebbed. Abille had her moments, Lindsey Whyte (13 points) offered spurts, and junior center Cassie Llewellyn (6 points) contributed some good inside work. Beth Robinson added 12 points, including two of the Cougs’ three 3-point buckets. But even at CK’s best, in the third quarter, Baxter pointed out “we just kinda traded baskets with them.”Part of the Cougs’ problems, especially in the first half, seemed to stem simply from trying too hard.“Sometimes, you try to make that one great pass, and it ends up being a turnover,” Baxter said.The Roughriders got CK’s defense leaning early — three of PA’s first four baskets were 3-pointers, two by Ralston, who finished with 26 points. Sather, who transferred in from Sequim this year, added 15."

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