ILWACO — Out of a timeout, clinging to a four-point lead and needing a basket to stop a 6-0 run, the Fishermen got the ball to their go-to scorer, Makenzie Kaech. Kaech took Erika Glenn’s in-bound pass and dribbled quickly down the sideline, Wahkiakum’s defense focusing on her every move. Instead of turning the corner, Kaech passed to Glenn, who was coming open behind the top of the key. Glenn sank the fourth three-pointer of her high school debut to seal the win. Ilwaco led 52-45 with 1:20 to play and went on to win 58-46 over the rival Mules in a marquee season-opening matchup Tuesday, Nov. 28.
Glenn was four of six from three-point range off the bench in the first game of her freshman season, but it was much more than a hot shooting night for her. Glenn fit perfectly in Ilwaco’s offense, feeding Kaech with tough entry passes and keeping the ball moving. She finished with four assists against an elite defense.
Not long after Glenn’s dagger three-pointer, Wahkiakum had the ball while down by six, but Eliza Bannister gathered a loose ball, led the break, and fired cross-court to Chandelle Thomas, who sank a twelve-footer. Thomas, a senior whose turn has finally come, got the start and stretched the floor with seven points on three of eight shooting, mostly from long range.
Thomas and Glenn, players opponents have little knowledge of, were both on the floor in crunch time. If teams think they can focus on two or three Ilwaco players, “Erika and Chandelle are destroying those old beliefs,” an enthusiastic Bannister said after the game.
Ilwaco also had something else they hadn’t previously shown the Mules much of: a man defense, which they played throughout the game. The Mules struggled with turnovers early on, but then Macie Elliot got going, attacking the defense and getting to the line; she finished with 18 points, hitting 10 of 14 free throws and putting Bannister and Ebby McMullen in foul trouble. Meanwhile, the Mules mostly stifled Ilwaco until late in the third, making things tough inside for Kaech and Madeline Jacobson.
Glenn entered the game at the 3:37 mark in the first quarter, and Kaech fed her right away for an open three-pointer to put Ilwaco ahead. Bannister followed with a steal and layup. Bannister then slashed to the basket for another layup and a 14-12 lead.
The Fishermen led 16-14 after one, then 24-20 after a defense-dominated second quarter. Ilwaco’s offensive struggles carried into the third quarter. The Mules were forcing Ilwaco to hesitate, leading to several traveling violations. They had a 28-26 lead midway through the quarter.
With 3:05 in the third, Kaech went up against three defenders and drew a foul. After Kaech hit her first free throw, Glenn pulled down the offensive rebound on the second and got the ball to Jacobson through traffic for a 29-28 lead. Glenn followed by banking in a three. She arced a pass over the defense to Kaech cutting under the basket that extended the lead to 34-28. Thomas’s three-pointer made it 37-30.
With Ilwaco ahead by three early in the fourth, Glenn fired another pass over the defense and right to Kaech, who was fouled. Kaech split two free throws, but Jacobson rebounded Kaech’s miss, drew another foul, and hit both her own free throws to stretch the lead to six with six minutes remaining. On the next possession, Kaech pulled up and hit an open three, stretching the lead to 44-35 with 5:31.
Ilwaco seemed to be cruising to victory, breaking Wahkiakum presses and going ahead 49-39 inside of three minutes to go. But Wahkiakum scored six points in a twenty-second span. Center Ellie Leitz took Jacobson out to the perimeter and hit a shot while being fouled, and after Wahkiakum rebounded her missed free throw, Charlie Ashe knocked down a jumper to make it 49-43 with 1:55 to go. On the other end, McMullen fouled Ashe while battling her for a rebound, and Ashe sank her free throws to cut it to four with 1:45 remaining.
The Mules stuffed Kaech on the other end, but the ball went out of bounds off Wahkiakum with 1:30 left, allowing the Fishermen to set up Glenn’s dagger three-pointer.
Kaech led Ilwaco with 18 points, Glenn had 12 on four of eight shooting, and Jacobson scored 14 on five of eight shooting.
SOUTH BEND — Ilwaco won 65-21 at South Bend in its Nov. 30 league opener.
The Lady Fishermen rotated nine players for the second straight game, and eleven players saw at least some minutes against South Bend. The bench scored nine of the team’s 19 points in the second quarter, with Faith Simonsen, Erika Glenn, and Sunny Kemmer all scoring. Glenn assisted Simonsen for the first points of the quarter, putting Ilwaco ahead 17-7. Shortly afterward Glenn came up with a steal and fast-break assist to Makenzie Kaech. Kaech, surrounded by three defenders, hit an open Glenn for a three-pointer and a 16-point lead. Glenn then scored inside through contact to make it 28-10. Kemmer got position inside and scored on a post move to make it 33-12 near the end of the half.
Kaech finished with 16 points, Madeline Jacobson scored 14 and Eliza Bannister had 11. Glenn had eight points and four assists.