KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS Port Angeles Lindsay Smith, right, edges past Bainbridge’a Carlyn Moore on Tuesday in Port Angeles.

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS Port Angeles Lindsay Smith, right, edges past Bainbridge’a Carlyn Moore on Tuesday in Port Angeles.

STATE BASKETBALL: Family ties for state-bound Port Angeles, Forks and Neah Bay

Sisters form strong bonds

TACOMA — Family ties provide a common bond between all three North Olympic Peninsula state regional round girls basketball teams.

Port Angeles possesses two pairs of sisters: starters Lexie Smith and Lindsay Smith and reserves Tatum Moses and Kenzie Moses.

Forks’ Keira Johnson and Bailey Johnson led the Spartans in a return trip to the Class 2B state tournament.

Reigning Class 1B state champion Neah Bay has the largest family group with senior Ryana Moss, sophomore Cerise Moss and eighth-grader Caylee Moss all coached by older sister Cherish Moss.

Creating a family atmosphere has become a cliche for coaches across all levels of sport, but developing such an environment every season isn’t a given. And it stands to reason that close family members fight harder for each other, help one another improve and develop trust between all members of the team. If a coach can create this type of environment, reaching team goals and maximizing potential becomes something that can be accomplished and not hoped.

Fifteen team members knowing each other personally and having the trust to share it will create something special. That family environment allows everyone to maintain and share the exact vision of team goals.

The Smith sisters, junior Lexie and sophomore Lindsay, have a well-balanced relationship, according to Port Angeles coach Michael Poindexter said.

“They each possess an appreciation for who they other person is and a lack of jealousy or competitiveness within those pairs,” Poindexter said. “They are both truly supportive of each other’s abilities and achievements.”

Lexie, a 6-footer who shines with traditional post abilities such as rebounding, shot blocking and inside scoring, also is a terror at the top of Port Angeles’ pressure defenses with her long arms cutting off lanes and making it difficult for opposition ball handlers to find outlets. Smith also has some of the best court vision offensively and has frequently led the Riders in assists this season, a rarity for a post player.

“Lexie and Lindsay are different styles of basketball players,” Poindexter said.

Lindsay is 5-11 with the ballhandling and shooting skills of a guard and the abillity to rebound like a traditional forward. She’s not quite the defender her older sister is, but is more than capable of making plays in transition to fuel Rider runs.

Lexie Smith also is one of three team captains along with seniors Izzy Felton and Paige Mason.,

“Lexie does a fabulous job maintaining her position as a team leader and standard setter and still doing that while being a big sister,” Poindexter said. “That’s a tough role for her, to be a captain and be a big sister but she’s kind of been a big sister to Lindsay’s whole class since they came in as freshmen. She’s one of the wisest kids I’ve ever coached in terms of understanding what motivates other players.”

Junior Tatum Moses and sophomore Kenzie Moses have improved their games as reserves this season.

“Tatum has worked to develop her jump shot, particularly her outside shot,” Poindexter said. “I think Tatum has been helpful for Kenzie in coming up to the varsity and helping create a comfort zone for her.

“And Kenzie has her own defensive style and a passion for it that you can’t teach.”

Johnson & Johnson

Pacific League MVP Keira Johnson set the school record for career points scored earlier this season as a senior. Her backcourt partner and younger sister freshman Bailey Johnson picked up second-team All-Pacific League honors earlier this week after playing heavy minutes for the Spartans as an eighth grader last season.

Neah Bay

Cherish Moss herself was no stranger to playing alongside a sister as she and younger sister Cierra played alongside each other in high school and also teamed to win Peninsula College’s lone women’s basketbal championship in 2015 before moving on to play together at Evergreen State College.

Ryana Moss was recently voted North Olympic League MVP by league coaches and is averaging a team-high 14.5 points, along with 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.9 assists. Cerise Moss was a first-team all-league pick and puts up 7.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.5 assists per game for a Red Devils team that has seven players averaging more than 6 points per game.

Caylee also has played in 13 of the 21 Neah Bay games entering the weekend.

________

Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at sports@peninsulanews.us.

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
Port Angeles Lindsay Smith, right, edges past Bainbridge’a Carlyn Moore during a January game at Port Angeles High School.

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS Port Angeles Lindsay Smith, right, edges past Bainbridge’a Carlyn Moore during a January game at Port Angeles High School.

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS Port Angeles’ Lexie Smith, left, looks for the net defended by Kingston’s Taizah Franklin, center, and Tavyn Belgarde, left, on Tuesday at Port Angeles High School.

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS Port Angeles’ Lexie Smith, left, looks for the net defended by Kingston’s Taizah Franklin, center, and Tavyn Belgarde, left, on Tuesday at Port Angeles High School.

Port Angeles’ Lexie Smith, left, looks for the net defended by Kingston’s Taizah Franklin, center, and Tavyn Belgarde, left, during a game earlier this season.

Port Angeles’ Lexie Smith, left, looks for the net defended by Kingston’s Taizah Franklin, center, and Tavyn Belgarde, left, during a game earlier this season.

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