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League-leading PA holds off Olympic
"The Port Angeles High School boys basketball team has plenty of go-to guys.When the Roughriders needed key points to blunt a charge by the Olympic Trojans, though, the guys that got the job done weren't guys that were on that go-to list.A pair of sophomores named Jordan - surnames Tschimperle and Rhoads - hit clutch baskets to help foul-plagued PA get up after a near-fatal third-quarter fall and beat Oly 60-54 in a battle of the two most likely postseason candidates from the Olympic League Class 4A ranks.With senior leaders Dave Berger and Chris Ochs sulking on the bench with four fouls each, Tschimperle and Rhoads knocked in back-to-back 3-point baskets to start the fourth quarter, yanking the 'Riders out of a four-point deficit and into a 41-39 lead.The Trojans knotted it on John Alguard's 8-foot runner in the lane, but the momentum had shifted. Berger returned just before Alguard's bucket, Ochs just after, and PA went on a 15-3 run to regain control.That's a very solid program, said Olympic coach Robert Polk, a three-year veteran doffing his proverbial cap to his veteran counterpart, Lee Sinnes. They're very balanced, and they're very smart - that was certainly evident down the stretch.They're all competent players, and they all know their jobs.While he had his hat off, Polk also doled out some appreciation for junior Jacoby Pender, who scored six points - including a pull-up 15-footer from the right wing - in the middle of PA's decisive surge.He hit a couple of shots to get them back on balance, said Polk of Pender, who hit another jumper from almost the exact same spot in the third quarter to throw a little water on Oly's third-quarter flames. They made some perimeter shots that were real big.Both teams' efforts were streaked with hot and cold. Port Angeles raced out to an 8-0 lead, as the Trojans obligingly threw the ball away four straight times, and led 15-7 after one quarter.We just kept throwing the ball to the guys in the green shirts, Polk laughed. We needed to pass to the white shirts. I think our guys were just energized, excited and rushing. We needed to settle down.The start of the second half was a different story, though, with the Roughriders cast as the hapless passers this time. A trapping zone press by Olympic, with senior Hugh Willa providing the spark, sent the Trojans on a 15-4 sprint in the quarter's first 4 minutes and 39 seconds, staking them to a 32-29 lead.Willa started things off with a steal and feed to Austin Hendershot for a 3-pointer. He later added a steal and layup, a three-point play off a nifty assist underneath from Ken Waldo, and a swooping, scooping layup off the break. When Hendershot struck again with 3:21 remaining, it was 32-29 to Troy's advantage.Factor in that Berger - who had 10 first-half points - and Ochs both were one foul from disqualification, and it looked like Oly might be on the way to reversing the 62-50 loss they suffered at Port Angeles to open the league schedule.But there was Pender with his big shot. And a few moments later, there were the Jordans and their 3-balls from the top of the key.Then came Berger and Ochs from exile, and not even a late barrage of 3-pointers - four different players scored treys in the final 2:19, including Willa's buzzer-beater - could derail PA sufficiently to get Troy any closer than its final six-point arrears.I told our guys to be proud of their effort tonight, Polk said of the defeat. Naturally, we're disappointed to lose. But they've got nothing to hang their heads about tonight.The Trojans got some good news before the game when senior guard Harold Powell was cleared to play for the first time this season. Powell, who suffered a nagging ankle injury late in football season and was unable to shake the pain until last week, played several long stretches and showed no ill effects from the layoff."