Port Angeles’ Lindsay Smith is surrounded by Foster defenders Wednesday night in Port Angeles in a bi-district playoff game. She scored 17 points as the Roughriders won 67-37 to qualify for the state 2A tournament. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula News)

Port Angeles’ Lindsay Smith is surrounded by Foster defenders Wednesday night in Port Angeles in a bi-district playoff game. She scored 17 points as the Roughriders won 67-37 to qualify for the state 2A tournament. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula News)

PLAYOFF BASKETBALL: Port Angeles girls dominate Foster 67-37

Game never in doubt as Riders qualify for state

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles girls basketball team qualified for state in dominating style, quickly jumping out to a double-digit lead against a visiting Foster squad and never allowing them back in the game in a 67-37 bi-district tournament victory.

Wednesday’s win guaranteed the No. 11 Roughriders a state regional round berth. Now they can concentrate on improving their RPI and hope for a move into the top eight and a guaranteed trip to state in Yakima.

Last year, the Riders, with a very young team, made regionals as a No. 14 seed and were one-and-done.

The goal this season, said the Port Angeles players and coach Michael Poindexter, is to get out of regionals and play state tournament games at the Yakima SunDome.

The Olympic League-champion Roughriders have won 11 straight after starting the season 5-5, with most of those losses to tough nonleague opponents.

Lexie Smith had 11 rebounds and a career-high 21 points to lead Port Angeles against Foster.

“I love this team,” she said. “From where we were at the beginning of the year, we’re so unified now.”

“That’s nice,” to have already qualified for state, Poindexter said. “We really want to get to the SunDome.”

Poindexter said there have been some nights the Riders are scoring challenged, but the team will always play good defense and work together. In that 11-game winning streak, Port Angeles has given up an average of 36.4 points a game.

“This year’s group is simply special,” Poindexter said. “The team chemistry is outstanding, perhaps the best in my career.”

“It’s been exciting,” said senior Paige Mason. “I didn’t play much on the last team to make state in Yakima (2022). Now I’m one of the main role players. I’m so excited for this team. It’s really special.”

Smith said she is looking forward to playing White River (18-3) at bi-district, though the Riders will first have to get through KingCo champion Sammamish (12-0, 15-6) at 6 p.m. today at Silas High School (formerly Wilson High School) in Tacoma in the bi-district semifinals. If they win, they play for the tournament championship at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Tacoma Community College.

Foster came in as the second-place team from the KingCo 2A League and showed up at Wednesday’s game with a 15-6 record and the No. 7 seed in the tournament. However, the KingCo League doesn’t appear to be particularly strong this year as four out of five KingCo schools lost their bi-district tournament openers and the Bulldogs were simply never any match for the battle-tested 16-6 Riders.

Hit early treys

Port Angeles hit three 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the game to open up a 13-3 lead. They built that lead to 20-8 at the end of the first quarter, 35-14 near the end of the half and 50-22 at one point in the third quarter. Port Angeles let the foot off the gas in the fourth quarter or they could’ve easily won by 40 or more.

Poindexter had mixed feelings about the 3-pointers early. He agreed that making a few probably relaxed the Riders on offense but that the girls started falling in love with the three. He said Port Angeles did the majority of its damage by passing the ball inside to Lexie and Lindsay Smith and Paige Mason.

“I told them to win they’re going to have to play inside. They took that to heart,” Poindexter said. He thought the Riders also gained a lot of confidence with their dominant defense and causing a lot of turnovers early.

As an example of what an impressive win it was, Port Angeles got off 65 shots to Foster’s 35, the Riders had 20 offensive rebounds to Foster’s three, and they also forced 29 Bulldogs turnovers while only making 10 themselves.

Lexie Smith had a career-high with 21 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Lindsay Smith scored 17 to go with four assists, while Teanna Clark scored 11 and Paige Mason 10. Izzy Felton had five assists and five rebounds.

Port Angeles 67, Foster 37

Foster 8 12 9 8 — 37

Port Angeles 20 18 14 15 — 67

Foster (37) — Ariyana Deloney 21, Mia Pittman 8, Moenaea Allen 6, Trinity Buchanan 2.

Port Angeles (67) — Le. Smith 21, Li. Smith 17, Clark 11, Mason 10, Felton 3, K. Moses 3, Politika 1, Rognlien 1, Alward, Manson, T. Moses.

________

Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or sports@peninsulanews.us.

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