MUKILTEO — The Kamiak girls basketball team isn’t quite as big as the Archbishop Murphy boys.
Fortunately for the Knights, they were only playing the Archbishop Murphy girls Monday night. And Kamiak is a whole lot bigger than them.
With post players standing at 6-foot-3, 6-foot-2 and 6-foot, the Knights dominated the paint and posted a 55-51 win against the Wildcats at Kamiak High School.
Post players Kelsey Patrick, Jordan Keller and Julia Church combined for 36 points, 25 rebounds and nine blocks. With inside strength like that, maybe the Knights should give the boys a try.
“We try to bump around and get physical in there, especially on the boards,” Kamiak head coach Jody Schauer said. “I think we’ve been physical. It might not have looked like that all the time because we spread out a lot, but they know how to play tough.”
Patrick finished with a game-high 18 points to go along with 14 rebounds. Church added 14 points, six blocks and six boards, while Keller made the biggest difference on defense with three blocks and four points.
The best thing about the trio, however, might be its versatility. Even with a size advantage, the Knights weren’t forced to simply pound the ball inside, thanks to their posts being able to step out and knock down jump shots.
“I don’t encourage them to shoot from the outside, but they are pretty good shooters out there,” Schauer said. “I don’t say no to them on those, as long as it’s within their range.”
The game started out at a furious pace, as Archbishop Murphy managed nine three-point attempts in the first period and forged a 10-10 tie. In the second, though, Kamiak’s defense began to take over. A steal and layup by Church and a jump shot from Samantha Sovich provided back-to-back buckets that helped the Knights to a slim 24-18 lead at halftime.
On the first possession of the second half, Kamiak’s Patrick made a layup and the tone was set. The Knights built their lead to 37-23 late in the third and led 37-27 going into the fourth.
The Wildcats didn’t quit, as they got within 40-33 on a 3-point shot from Sammi Pettinger with 5:13 remaining. They even managed to pull within 52-48 with 40 seconds remaining after a 3-point play by Claire Anderson capped a quick 7-0 run.
Part of the reason Archbishop Murphy got back in the game was because Kamiak missed seven free throws in the final two minutes. In the final 30 seconds, the Knights started knocking them down, and held on.
“We need to shore that area of our game up,” Schauer said. “One of our plans going into this game was to be aggressive and get to the free-throw line. If we’re going to make that one of our goals, we’ve got to be able to hit some shots from there.”
Shelby Lyman finished with 13 points to lead the Wildcats, who also picked up 11 from Anderson.
At Kamiak H.S.
A. Murphy — Lyman 13, Bartholomew 7, Moran 5, Pettinger 3, Fletcher 1, Shober 8, Anderson 11, Smith 3. Kamiak — Church 12, Keller 4, T. Kussman 6, K. Kussman, McClaskey 2, Patrick 20, Simmons 3, Sovich 8, Taglialavore. 3-point goals—Patrick 1, Lyman 2, Bartholomew 2, Pettinger 1. JV game—Kamiak over A. Murphy. Records—A. Murphy 0-1. Kamiak 1-0.