Elma High School, which hadn’t lost a game since February, dropped its first game of the season Tuesday night to Class 1A Evergreen Conference rival Montesano.
How did the ninth-ranked Eagles respond?
Three players reached double figures Thursday night at Tenino, and four more scored, as Elma routed the Beavers, 55-25, on the road.
“We had a good practice yesterday. It’s over with,” junior post Molly Johnston said of Tuesday’s loss. “So we’ve been practicing hard, pushing each other more. We just go back to what we’re doing.”
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Sophomore forward Quin Mikel scored a game-high 14 points for the Eagles, while Johnston added 12 and sophomore post Jalyn Sackrider had 11.
Elma (15-1, 3-1 1A Evergreen) never allowed more than eight points in a quarter until the final period, when Tenino put up 10, but the game was well out of reach by that point.
Tenino (5-8, 0-3) finished the game with five field goals, tacking on most of its points from the free throw line.
“Our defense is always our biggest attribute,” Elma coach Lisa Johnson said. “That’s what we build our whole base around — not giving up field goals.”
Thursday’s game was the eighth time this season the Eagles have held an opponent to 30 points or less.
Elma also held Tenino’s Kaylee Schow, who leads the area averaging 21 points per game, to eight points with a consistent double-team.
“She’s a good player, she’s a good shooter, so we just had to watch where she was in our zones,” Johnston said. “She’s a good player, so we had to play good defense against her.”
The majority of the Beavers’ points came from the free throw line where Schow and Rhian Matthis — who led Tenino with 12 points — each made all six of their attempts.
But Elma allowed little production elsewhere, and continually pulled away at the other end with its balanced attack.
“You look in the scoring book each night, and there will very rarely be a high scorer that’s going to stand out,” Johnson said. “I do like having that balance. If somebody’s not on, there’s always somebody else to step in and fill in and hit the shots.”
Each player provides something that adds to Elma’s success, Johnson said, whether it’s perimeter shooting, blocking shots or defensive presence. And the Eagles have plenty of time to continue to tune, with no seniors on the roster.
“We have two years together, so I’m excited. ... When we play as a team is when we do best,” Johnston said. “When we get out and run — get a rebound, outlet, go — that’s when we do our best.”
NO. 9 ELMA
E – Sackrider 11, Burgher 2, Sutherby 6, Bol 2, Mikel 14, Johnston 12, Rambo 8
T – Letts 2, Mathis 12, Schow 8, Dowies 3