A strong fourth quarter couldn’t make up for a disastrous third, and the Coupeville High School girls basketball team lost its conference opener 38-32 at Port Townsend Tuesday, Dec. 12.
The loss was the first after 27 straight Olympic League wins for the Wolves since Coupeville joined the conference’s 1A division four years ago.
After a slow start Tuesday, Coupeville recovered to lead 14-13 at halftime. The Wolves were then shutout in the third period and fell behind 26-14.
Coupeville outscored the Redhawks (1-1, 1-4) 18-6 in the fourth quarter but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Both teams had trouble finding the hoop in the first quarter, and Coupeville compounded the problem by committing eight turnovers. PT led 5-4 going into the second period.
Mikayla Elfrank scored 7 points in the second quarter to help the Wolves take a 1-point lead, 14-13, into halftime.
That set up the fateful third period.
“We couldn’t get anything to drop,” coach David King said. “(Port Townsend) had their foot on the pedal and was playing with confidence. We went back to turning the ball over and not stopping their pick-and-roll action.”
The switch went on for the Wolves in the fourth quarter, King said.
“The game we had prepared to play showed up,” he said. “Instead of being the prey, we became the predator. We had them on their heals, but time doesn’t stop and we ran out of it tonight.”
Coupeville started pressing, which forced PT into turnovers and unclean shots.
The Wolves also attacked the hoop, which resulted in multiple trips to the foul line.
Unlike last week’s loss to Sequim when Coupeville made only one of 10 free throws in the final period, the Wolves hit nine of 11 to get back into the game. Coupeville was 10-for-15 for the night.
Lindsey Roberts sank five straight foul shots and Ema Smith scored all 7 off her points in the fourth period to lead the rally.
Coupeville trimmed the lead to 36-32 with 90 seconds remaining but couldn’t convert in its final few possessions.
Roberts played the entire game for Coupeville and “was outstanding at both ends of the court,” according to King. She finished with 9 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and no turnovers.
Elfrank scored 10 points and recorded seven steals and six rebounds.
Sarah Wright played one of her best games, King said, and had 5 points and five rebounds.
The Wolves received good efforts from several players who took on new roles, according to King. Smith started and hit key points and Kyla Briscoe handled the point guard duties.
Briscoe missed time in the first half with an injury, and Scout Smith took over running the offense.
Chelsea Prescott and logged a season high in playing time and scored her first varsity point.
“I was very proud of the players that showed up today,” King said. “We talked about commitment and playing for each other. I’ll take a group of players like that every day.”
Coupeville (0-1, 0-6) now plays four straight non-league games (the first three at home), starting with Bellevue Christian (3-2) at 4:45 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16.