Impressive opener for OC women

Rick Peters glanced at his stat sheet.

He liked what he saw — and what he didn’t see.

“It’s nice not to see anyone with 39.9 minutes,” said the second-year Olympic College women’s coach.

That was the norm a year ago when the short-handed Rangers struggled through a two-win season.

The Rangers depth was evident in a season-opening 87-60 victory over Grays Harbor at Bremer Center Gym on Saturday, Nov. 17.

All nine players got involved, playing at least 10 or more minutes for the Rangers, who used a balanced inside/outside attack to overcome a 40-point performance by the Chokers’ Rachel Ross.

The other number on the stat sheet that popped out for Peters was the Rangers’ 54.3 percent shooting from the field.

“That’s phenomenal,” he said. “We were shooting lights out, but we can’t expect that every night.”

The Rangers team goal was to hold Grays Harbor to 60 points or less.

“If we can hold teams to 60, we’ll have a chance to win every game whether we’re shooting 54 or 30 percent,” Peters said.

The Rangers, sparked by freshman Dana Diehl, took control of this one early.

Diehl scored the final eight points of a 13-0 run in a 47-second span. She buried consecutive shots from the top of the key, the second one a 3-pointer, and completed a three-point play after being fouled with 15:03 left to put the Rangers up 17-7. They maintained the bulge, leading 42-33 at halftime.

Diehl, a 5-foot-2 guard from Aniak, Alaska, finished with 13 points, seven assists and five steals.

“Dana’s kind of quiet, but she has a lot of energy,” Peters said. “Everything is new to her, and she’s still adjusting to the cee-cee level, but that’s what I expect out of her every game.”

Melody Green, a 5-11 freshman from Gold Beach, Ore., showed a lot of savvy down low and finished with a game-high 16 points.

Beth Grams, 6-1 freshman from King’s West, scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

Leana Abille added 10 points. Tishala Rought, Bonita Wilcox and Melissa Edwards, who knocked down four jumpers in the second half, all had eight points. Shar Agee, just rounding into basketball shape after playing volleyball, chipped in seven. Nikki Nave, freshman from Olympic, had four points. Abille and Rought, 1999 Central Kitsap grads, were both playing their first games after sitting out two years. Edwards (South Kitsap) and Agee (Olympic) are the only two players back from the squad that started the season 0-16 a year ago.

Wilcox, a 5-4 freshman from Olympic, was a factor defensively in the second half as she was assigned Grays Harbor’s Ross, a hefty 6-footer who burned the Rangers for 23 points in the first half.

“Bonita’s very strong for her size,” Peters said. “She’s quick and jumps well. Basically we said in our man-to-man, she was going to guard her and just bug the hell out of her.”

It worked as Ross picked up her third and fourth fouls in the first three minutes of the second half as she tried to maneuver for offensive position down low. The Rangers led 44-37 when Ross took a seat on the bench. When she returned, it was 57-43.

“I told the girls to savor the win, but be ready to go back to work on Monday,” Peters said. “Grays Harbor is an average squad. We’re going to need to be better than that.”

The Rangers play at the Shoreline Tournament, Nov. 23-25, opening against South Puget Sound. Next home games will be Dec. 12-14 during the Olympic College Crossover Tournament.

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