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Miracle on Bucklin Hill
Its not after every girls basketball game the Central Kitsap Cougars cut down their net.
But its not every day that the Lady Cougs beat Port Angeles like they did 64-55 Friday.
They wouldnt leave unless we let them cut down the net, CK coach Denise Baxter said.
Heck, its not every decade that CK can claim to have beaten the Roughriders. The last time that happened, according to CK assistant coach Becky Arthur, was a 55-52 win in January 1991 when she was in her senior year and scored a career-high 25 points for coach Murray Webb.
The Roughriders dont lose very often to a league opponent (the last time was in 1997 against Bainbridge in the defunct Olympic League) and have advanced to the state tournament each of the past four seasons.
Roughrider senior Ashley Payne credited the Cougars defense for putting pressure on the normally stellar PA offense. Payne struggled for most of the night with 20 points, including four three-pointers in the fourth quarter when the game was almost over.
I had to shoot it deep, said Payne, who missed 10 of her first 12 shots. Thats the only place I could see the basket.
CK guard Nicole Zygmontowicz said her teams goal was to keep the pressure on the Roughriders.
Our game plan was to shut down No. 23 (Payne) and it worked, Zygmontowicz said. Finally in my senior year it finally happened.
PA took the early lead 22-21 after the first quarter when guard Sarah Bussell scored 10 and post Missy Schaad had seven points.
Then the Cougars defense took over and only allowed PA to get 14 points on 6-for-33 shooting in the second and third quarter as the home team scored 31 led by senior forward Adria Layne.
Layne, who has been dealing with the burden of her mother having a stroke Wednesday and her grandmother having a stroke Thursday, scored a team-high 19 points.
Adrias had an emotional, tough week, Baxter said. For her to come and play and stay focused is extraordinary.
Central Kitsap ran into difficulties in the second half when they committed 18 of their 26 turnovers, par for the course for a team with four sophomores on the roster.
Ive got some young kids playing in tough situations and they just have to learn clock management, Baxter said. Its hard to take a transistion team that likes to run the floor to slow down and not gamble so much. PA shoots the lights out and you could see how they can come back and erase any deficits.
The young Cougars had 14 points from sophomore Emily Zygmontowicz who continues to improve with each game and was able to keep PA from relaxing on defense or offense with her all-out play.
Shes unbelivable, Nicole Zygmontowicz said of her younger sister. Shes the total package.