The Yelm High School girls basketball team added another two games to their perfect record, defeating Capital High School 68-43 and toppling River Ridge 70-34 at home last week.
Rainier girls basketball also had a good showing, defeating Stevenson 79-37 and ousting Winlock 68-48 in league play, though they lost a non-league game to Tumwater High School 62-32.
Yelm High School
The Tornados played Capital High School on Tuesday, May 25 and their 68-43 victory saw a fairly even first half, followed by a dominant second half, having scored 40 points to Capital’s 19 in that last two quarters.
The high-point scorers were My’Kel Jones with 20 points, Lilli Williams with 17 and Samantha Rohwedder with 10.
“That was a close game in the first half,” Yelm Coach Russ Riches said. “We were only up four at halftime, which I actually think was good for our kids to understand that they needed to come ready to play.”
Riches called the contest a “solid” game for the Tornados, especially with the direction the girls were able to take at halftime.
“I was really pleased with the adjustments we made in the second half,” he said. “We got on a roll and really did a nice job of playing great defense and things started flowing. We were able to get into our fast break quite a bit and then were real patient with the basketball when we didn’t.”
The game presented the Tornados with the greatest challenge of the season up to that point, Riches said, adding it was fun to see the girls step up their game.
Williams, the team’s freshman point guard, was the standout talent in the game, he said.
“I don’t know if you call it a break-out game or not, because (Williams) has been really steady all season, but she had 17 points and 11 rebounds as a point guard, so that was pretty impressive from her,” Riches said.
Yelm’s 70-34 summit against River Ridge High School took place on Thursday, May 27, with Yelm holding the team to single digits in all but the second quarter, where the Tornados scored 20 points to River Ridge’s 11.
The high-point scorers were Bayleigh Harder with 21 points, Morgan Whited with 17 and Henlee Sherman and Rohwedder with 10 each.
Riches said the game had the kind of tempo and pacing the Tornados strive for right from the start, with the girls playing great defense, being able to “hit people on the break.”
While Harder’s showing of 21 points and 15 rebounds was impressive, Riches said the star of the game was Whited’s 17 point and 12 rebounds, since the other players really caught on to Whited’s fire.
“She came off the bench and just provided a spark for us when we needed it, especially in the second half,” Riches said, adding that Whited was a monster on the inside. “She just played out of her shoes. It was so fun to watch.”
Overall, Riches said it was simply a fun week.
“The kids played hard and responded when they needed to, especially (against Capital),” he said. “We were just playing really well together. It’s been fun. They’re just gelling as a team and the chemistry is really good and it’s just a great group of kids to work with.”
Riches said his seniors are still providing the team with its needed leadership, but that freshmen players like Sherman and Sadie Tanner are really stepping up.
“We’re able to put kids in and not drop any kind of level at all,” Riches said. “We’re able to just produce the way we need to. It’s just fun to watch these kids play and being involved and being part of it.”
Rainier High School
Brandon Eygabroad, Rainier girls basketball coach, said he’s proud of the way his girls played last week.
Rainier’s 79-36 victory at Stevenson on Tuesday, May 25, saw a fairly even first quarter, with the Mountaineers scoring 15 points to Stevenson’s 11, but Rainer turned up the heat in the second quarter scoring 21 points to Stevenson’s five. The second half was even more impressive, with the Mountaineers scoring 28 points in the third quarter and 17 in the fourth, holding Stevenson to 8 and 11 points respectively.
“We went down to Stevenson and struggled the first quarter a little bit, but opened it up,” Eygabroad said. “We had four girls in some double digits. It was just an all-around team win. We really shared the ball. We started to click offensively. … We played some good basketball.”
Kaeley Schultz had 20 points, Bryn Beckman had 17, Faith Boesch had 15 and Brooklyn Swenson had 12.
When Tumwater High School beat the Moutnaineers 62-32 on Thursday, May 27, Rainier was held to just five points in the first and fourth quarters, but Eygabroad said they still put up a fight.
“Tumwater’s a 2A school, a really good program,” he said. “It didn’t go necessarily good, but I’m proud of my girls and how they played. … They flew around, never hung their heads and just competed the whole time.”
The high-point scorer was Schultz with 12 points, followed by Isabella Holmes with nine and Beckman with eight.
Rainier’s 68-48 triumph over Winlock High School on Friday, May 28, showed Rainier making modest gains of five in the first and fourth quarters, a rally by Winlock in the third quarter, but an 11-point gain by the Mountaineers in the second.
Eygabroard said the game saw a bit of a slow start with the girls’ intensity lacking coming off the heels of the Tumwater game.
“We came out a little lethargic, (but) we ended up shooting pretty well,” he said. “We had like 11 threes, with limited turnovers. We took care of the ball and forced them with 30 turnovers.”
The high-point scorers were Schultz with 23 points, Boesch with 22 and Selena Niemi with 10.
Eygabroad said the girls are now preparing to be seeded into the district tournament, which will consist of four games in a single elimination format.
“We are just going to try to make as deep of a run as possible,” Eygabroad said. “The goal is the district championship, but it’s one game at a time, with the focus on the opponent that’s right in front of you. We’re starting to kind of click offensively and defensively. We’ve just got to bring that intensity every single night.”