Sports

OC misses chance to chop Chokers

"BREMERTON - A painful black mark.The shiner swelling on Shar Agee's nose was a metaphor for her Olympic College women's basketball team's loss to Gray's Harbor last Friday night, Dec. 29.Of the eight losses the Lady Rangers have suffered so far this season (against two victories), this one seemed to hurt at least as much as the numerous tumbles and collisions that distinguished this inelegant evening of hoops at Bremer Center, including the full-speed faceplant that crumpled Agee's beak in the first half.It was more than a loss. It was a missed opportunity.It's disappointing, said Agee, a freshman from Olympic High School, of the 91-82 nonconference setback. We could've ...Agee let her voice trail off, like she was deliberating which box to check on a multiple-choice question:A. The Rangers could've handled the Chokers' full-court press and half-court trap better.B. They could've shot better than the 34.1 percent (31 for 91) figure they posted.C. They could've taken more advantage of the foul trouble Gray's Harbor was mired in almost the entire contest, when two of their seven players had four fouls before the halftime buzzer.D. All of the above. They could've won.We really beat ourselves, said first-year OC coach Rick Peters, who had only eight players available on his own bench for the game. We just didn't get it together enough at the right times down the stretch.After falling behind by as many as 24 points in the first half, the Rangers had a lot of getting it together to do. But they found ways to get into their offense more against the foul-weakened Chokers' press, heated up their shooting a tad and cut down on their 21 first-half turnovers (they finished with 34).As unlikely as it seemed, they had rammed their way back into the game by the 12-minute, 32-second mark of the second half, when Agee's pull-up 10-footer capped a string of six straight OC points and brought the Rangers within 59-50.Four straight points by Shana Studwell - who poured in 22 of her 32 points in the first half - ignited a 12-2 run that put Gray's Harbor back on top by 19, and it took back-to-back 3-pointers by Central Kitsap alum Holly Thatcher to pull OC back within eight, 88-80, inside the final minute.We weren't really shooting in the first half, Agee said, and when we finally got going in the second half, it was too little, too late.Peters said the Rangers' inability to deal with Gray's Harbor's press crippled the offense in the first half. It wasn't just the turnovers, but the amount of time it took OC to get into the attacking end and set up its offense.It disrupted us the whole game, Peters said of the press. I didn't think it was so much the full-court press as it was that little half-court diamond they threw on us.Peters said beating a press wouldn't normally be a concern to him.I guess it depends on who shows up (to break it), he said. Tonight, we just didn't handle it very well.Once the Rangers were in their offense, they proved they could score. Sophomore Kori Spencer (24 points, 18 rebounds) was a force against the taller Chokers in the paint. And the 34-percent shooting figure for the game represented a healthy improvement over the first half, when OC hit just 10 of 40 attempts.Agee added 15 points, Melissa Edwards 11 and Hannah Proctor and Lindsay Nelson 10 each for Olympic.Gray's Harbor finished the game with just five players after Cassie Lynn and 6-4 center Tina Johnson fouled out. But it could've been worse. Guard Tiffany Murray played the entire second half with four fouls, and her backcourt starting mate, Samantha Claterbos, had three in the first half.Yeah, I'm disappointed with didn't take more advantage (of Gray's Harbor's foul miseries), Peters said, adding with a grin, We tried. I don't think we got much help (from the trio of referees) with those fifth fouls.I wouldn't want to win that way, anyway, Peters said, perhaps remembering his team's 87-67 loss to the Chokers at Aberdeen Dec. 6, when short-handed OC had to finish with just three players on the court because of foul troubles. "

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