Kamiak jumps on Mariner early, cruises to victory | Girls basketball

Knights’ pressure defense overwhelms Marauders
By David Pan | Jan 16, 2019
Photo by: David R Pan Kamiak’s Tess Schornack is chased by Mariner’s Melissa Pere during a Wesco 4A game Thursday, Jan. 10 at Mariner High School.

Kamiak wanted to come out and pressure Mariner right from the tipoff of last week’s clash.

The Knights achieved their goals, outscoring the Marauders 12-0 in the first quarter and then cruising to a 36-21 victory in a Wesco 4A girls basketball game Thursday, Jan. 10, at Mariner High School.

Kamiak took a 26-6 lead into halftime and maintained the 20-point advantage through the third quarter before the Marauders cut into the lead into the fourth quarter with the final results never really in doubt.

Junior Jordyn Porea scored a team-high 11 points to lead the Knights (3-4 in the league, 3-10 overall), who snapped a six-game losing streak.

“That was probably one of the best team games we’ve had,” Porea said. “I really like how my team, the entire time, we were encouraging each other, which is something we’ve been telling each other we need to work – encouraging each other and lifting each other up.”

Kamiak coach Brian Norman said the Knights did what they set out to do in the first half.

“We put a couple of different presses on,” he said. “We wanted just wanted to pressure them and make them make mistakes. I think we did a pretty good job of that. We hit a couple of shots, which is good for us right now. … I think really the defense is what helped us just kind of get a little bit of a flow early on.”

Porea agreed that the defense contributed to the offense’s success.

“We got a lot of steals,” she said. “They weren’t making bad passes. We were just in the right place at the right time.”

Norman wasn’t as pleased with his team’s play in the second half, while Mariner coach Jamie Gepner saw improved play from her squad after a difficult first half.

Kamiak’s defense faltered somewhat in the second half, Norman said. The Marauders (1-6, 1-12) outscored the Knights 15-10.

Too many ill-advised fouls contributed to the second-half challenges for the Knights.

The Marauders shot 14 free throws and could have had more if they made more of their first attempts on some 1-and-1 opportunities.

“With a press defense, you can’t play with your hands. You’ve got to move your feet,” Norman said. “You’ve got to force the offense to make mistakes and then capitalize on that. So right now we try to do too much individual hip checking, reaching. We get a lot of cheap fouls.”

The Knights also didn’t execute its offense as well as they did in the first half.

“We wanted to do a little better job of putting the ball in the hole,” Norman said.

Kamiak was missing its starting junior point guard Margaux Manalo, who was out with a back injury.

Mariner senior center Yuni Septimo-Ruiz scored all 10 of her points in the second half.

“They composed themselves a lot better in that second half,” Gepner said of her players. “They did what they are capable of instead of trying to do too much.”

The first of two games between the two Mukilteo District schools drew a packed gym, which helped contribute to some of the Marauders’ miscues.

“I think they got a little too excited and tried to push the ball too much,” Gepner said. “Second half we kind of held back little bit, which allowed us to go forward. At halftime, we talked about making good passes … just the simple things.”

Kamiak continues to work on the mental part of the game, especially team chemistry.

“Being positive with each other even when things aren’t going our way is kind of a critical thing right now,” Norman said. “I think if we do a good job of that, we’ll just improve naturally.”

Porea said the Knights have made significant progress.

“Our attitude has improved with each other,” she said. “Our skills are developing and by the end of the season, I think we’re going to be a rock solid team.”

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