The seventh- and eight-grade girls basketball squad from the Olympic Peninsula racked up their second tournament win in as many weekends, topping all teams at a single-elimination tourney in Tumwater.
"Tumwater has been the nemesis location for all peninsula teams for many years," Avalanche coach Joe Marvelle said. "Since there were no teams in our bracket here in Port Angeles this weekend (Spring Hoopfest tourney), we had to go down there in order to play. We exorcised the Tumwater demons this weekend by winning the championship."
And the squad did it soundly, beating three teams by an average of more than 18 points per game.
In game one, the Avalanche trounced the Elma Eagles 39-18 behind the 13 points and four steals of Krista Johnson. After scoring just one point in the first 10 minutes of the game, the Avalanche came roaring back to lead 19-9 at halftime. Lexi Besand and Lizzie Lawrence added six points each.
In game two, the semifinal, the Avalanche cruised to a 49-27 win against the River Ridge Hawks of Tumwater, the tournament's defending champs. Held to just one point the previous game, Mariah Frazier exploded for 25 points,14 rebounds and four steals. Johnson added 12 points and five assists
"A big key was (Sequim's) Rylleigh Zbaraschuk's defense on their star guard Jazzmine Brewster," Marvelle said. "I told Rylleigh to shadow here wherever she went. Rylleigh held her to one point. Her defense was picture perfect."
The Avalanche also got a boost from Sequim's Haleigh Harrison who added four points and five rebounds.
In the championship game, the Avalanche dropped Aberdeen 45-33 after leading by just one point (19-18) at halftime. Frazier led the squad once again with 21 points, 16 rebounds and a pair of blocks. Olympic out-rebounded Aberdeen 32-19.
"Our team plays really tough defense and our press really is clicking," Marvelle said. "We literally wear teams down in the second half because our kids are in such fabulous physical shape from playing as much as we have this season."
The Avalanche team plays in Mount Vernon at the 100-plus-team Tulip Festival Tournament the last weekend in March.
On the Oregon coast town of Seaside, these hoops players found away to sweep aside all opponents.
But it wasn't easy.
The Olympic Avalanche topped a field of 14 teams in the eighth-grade division at the Fultano's Seaside Classic Feb. 28-March 1.
The tourney win was capped with a 32-18 victory against Hillsboro, marking the Avalanche's third consecutive game they
need to come back from a sizable first-half deficit.
"It was a huge tournament and our biggest win so far," coach Joe Marvelle said.
In game one, the Avalanche dispatched St. Pius X of Portland, Ore., 52-11, their only easy contest of the tourney. Mariah Frazier and Krista Johnson each scored 16 points, while Lexi Besand added seven points and eight rebounds. Olympic used a press to force loads of turnovers for an early 18-point lead. The Avalanche out-rebounded St. Pius 44-13.
In game two the Avalanche recovered from a seven-point disparity early to close to within three and eventually topped Liberty (Newburgh, Ore.) 27-20. Johnson led the way with 13 points, while Frazier added eight points and 11 rebounds. Olympic out-rebounded Liberty 27-11.
In game three, the semi-final, Olympic knocked off host Seaside 40-18 after seeing Seaside score the first five points of the game. The Avalanche led 12-10 at halftime and poured it on after that, committing just six turnovers all game. Krissy Marvelle scored Olympic's first eight points and finished with 14 points total. Johnson chipped in 10 points.
In the championship game, Olympic and Hillsboro were tied at halftime, 9-9. The Avalanche went to a press early in the second half, turning a three-point deficit into a 10-point lead with three minutes left.
"We literally saw them wear down physically throughout the second half," Marvelle said. "They had nothing left in the tank and we could've played another half. Our girls are in fabulous condition from playing since November. We just threw wave after wave of girls in and everybody played great defense."
Frazier finished with nine points and 12 rebounds, while Macy Walker had eight points and Lauren Aguirre chipped in with six points.
"Winning sure made the five-hour drive home a lot easier," Marvelle said.