When the shots aren’t falling — and they weren’t over two-and-a-half quarters for the Black Hills girls basketball team — rely on your other strengths.
It’s a good thing the Wolves hit their free throws Friday night against Tumwater, which kept them within a few possessions and trailing by just two at halftime before Black Hills found its offensive rhythm late in the third quarter to put away a 56-46 victory.
It was one of those I’ll-take-it-no-matter-how-ugly wins for head coach Tanya Greenfield, as the Wolves join third-ranked W.F. West as the 2A Evergreen Conference’s co-leaders at 2A in league play.
Black Hills had just two field goals at halftime, yet trailed by just two at 25-23. But the difference was free throws. In all, the Wolves hit 23 of 33, including 15 of 23 in the first half.
If you only looked at what senior post Shayla Smothers did from the field, she didn’t have a good night, making only two made field goals. But elsewhere, she was a difference maker. She nearly posted a double-double, finishing with seven points, 15 rebounds and six blocks.
The Wolves utilized their high-low options, too. In addition to Smothers’ effort and Emma Duff (20 points) in double figures, Meeri Gummerus had nine points.
“The good thing is we are so versatile,” Greenfield said.
Duff had seven of her nine third-quarter points in the derisive final four minutes of the third, when the Wolves turned what was a 30-all tie into an eventual 42-32 lead heading into the fourth.
From there, Tumwater (8-6 overall, 0-2 2A EvCo) got no closer than eight.
First-year T-Birds coach Alyssa Vogt said it’s all still a learning curve for her young T-Birds.
“We’re not quite there yet, but once we turn the corner, I’m really confident in our abilities,” she said.
VandenHazel tipped in his own miss with 1.9 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime tied at 47 after Black Hills (8-6, 1-1) trailed by as many as nine points in the third quarter.
VandenHazel was one of three T-Birds (12-2, 2-0) in double figures with 10 points; Ty Gentry had 14 points for Tumwater and David Cooper had 11. TJ Mickelson had a game-high 24 points, including 12 in a low-scoring first half that helped set Black Hills up with a 17-12 going into the break.
Other Friday highlights
Makenna Schultz had 35 points to lead the River Ridge girls to a 61-53 victory over Fife in a 2A South Puget Sound League victory. It was the first game back since early December for all-league post Savannah McGill (broken knuckle), who finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds.
Mackenzie Cooper’s 11 points helped Olympia to a 68-38 4A Narrows League victory over Yelm.
Hayley Niles’ nine points led North Thurston in its 60-27 loss to Lincoln.