Not after Holy Names clobbered his Yelm Tornados, 60-33, on Wednesday at the girls 3A state basketball tournament in the Tacoma Dome, dropping Yelm into today’s loser-out game against Lynnwood.
“They’re a little quicker in live action than they are on tape,” Riches said. “We struggled against their size and we couldn’t keep them off the boards. When you’re playing the No. 1 team, you’ve got to come ready and not make mistakes.”
Holy Names (23-2) was too fast and too tall for Yelm, which was out-rebounded 57-26 and committed 22 turnovers.
Three seconds into the game, Holy Names led 2-0 on Claire Conricode’s wide open layup off the tip.
“Right then I thought, ‘Uh-oh,’ ” Riches said. “Right from the opening tip they went at us.”
And Holy Names never let up. The Cougars’ relentless pressure on defense held Yelm to seven points in the first quarter and 14 percent shooting in the first half.
For the game, Yelm shot 25 percent and got off only 44 shots, a season low.
“One of the things we pride ourselves on is defensive pressure,” Holy Names coach Lee Adams said. “Defensively, we’ll get up in you. If you have an answer for that, we’ll try something else.”
Yelm had no answers.
Holy Names, led by Erika Johnson’s 19 points and 12 rebounds, looked for the knockout punch early, building leads of 10-2, 22-7 and 30-8. The Cougars held a 39-15 edge at halftime.
“They’re very strong and tall and we’re kind of short,” Yelm senior guard Austin Schorno said. “We have to do (a) better job tomorrow.”
With Johnson, a major college prospect, getting putback after putback, Holy Names scored 26 points on second-chance shots. Yelm scored four.
Holy Names gobbled up 25 offensive rebounds, one fewer than Yelm’s rebounding total.
“We didn’t do a very good job of keeping them off the boards, and we didn’t do a good job of stopping them in transition,” Riches said.
Katelyn Smith, Yelm’s all-league 6-foot center, was sandwiched by double teams and held to 10 points – six below her average – on 2-of-9 shooting from the field.
“Big players are great if you can get the ball to them,” Adams said. “We tried to deny them the ball as best as we could.”
For the second straight year, Yelm opened the 3A girls state basketball tournament with a loss to Holy Names. Now, Riches is hoping for a repeat of last year’s win in the second round. Yelm, which advanced to state for the first time in 19 years last season, knocked off Seattle Prep on the second day last year.
“We told our team there’s a reason why Holy Names is ranked No. 1 in the state,” Riches said. “Now, we have to come back. Our goal is to get to Saturday.”
Lynnwood lost its opening round game to Prairie, 47-38.
“I think they’re a team we can match up with,” Riches said of Lynnwood. “We believe we can win tomorrow.”
Despite having lost by 27, and the game never being within reach at any time, the Tornados didn’t quit.
“All year there hasn’t been any lack of effort from any of the girls on this team,” Schorno said. “I appreciate that. They don’t get discouraged when they get down like that. We’ll be ready tomorrow.”
Gail Wood: 360-754-5443