ILWACO — The Lady Fishermen beat Ocosta 63-16 on Jan. 19.

Ilwaco put away the Wildcats in the opening minutes. Hannah Ellsworth found Makenzie Kaech cutting to the basket after the opening tip for a score, and made a three-pointer shortly thereafter. As Ocosta tried to bring the ball up court, Ellsworth and Eliza Bannister knocked it away, and Kaech picked it up and passed to Ellsworth for an easy score and 7-0 lead. Another Ellsworth three made it 12-2. Ellsworth stole back-to-back inbounds passes, both plays leading to baskets, for an 18-2 lead just 4:13 into the game.

Shortly afterward Kaech skillfully led a two-on-two fast break, showing patience and savvy to find Madeline Jacobson at the perfect instant for another easy basket. Ellsworth reached all the way around an Ocosta dribbler for yet another steal and score for a 26-4 lead 6:15 into the game. Ellsworth had 14 points in the first quarter, and three of Ilwaco’s nine steals in the decisive period.

Reece Pierson came off the bench and quickly had two assists, a steal and a basket off an offensive rebound, helping Ilwaco extend its lead. Kaech added her usual combination of overpowering drives to the basket, moves in the post and transition points. Ilwaco led 50-10 a minute and a half into the third quarter, a 40-point lead that triggered a running clock the rest of the way to speed the game.

Pierson, Bre Kondos, Elizabeth Kulm and Abigail Bentley saw stints off the bench throughout the game, with Kulm playing in all four quarters and making a three-pointer. In the fourth quarter, junior varsity swing player Ebby McMullan and junior varsity players Isabel Benenati and Chandelle Thomas all played. Pierson got a quick steal and five points early in the fourth quarter. Benenati secured two tough rebounds in traffic, then finished the scoring with a putback of a missed free throw with under 30 seconds left.

Ellsworth scored 21 points in the game, and Kaech scored 20.

LACEY — Ilwaco’s Lady Fishermen defeated Northwest Christian 66-50 on Jan. 23.

The Lady Navigators gave Ilwaco their best shot, creating a much closer contest than most of Ilwaco’s league opponents have managed. Junior forward Heidi Sowers repeatedly got into the lane against the Fishermen’s renowned defense. However, Hannah Ellsworth’s first-half shooting helped keep Ilwaco out of any real danger of an upset.

Ilwaco struggled to find offensive rhythm or make good passes throughout the first half, which resulted in numerous interceptions and other turnovers. Makenzie Kaech hit the bench with early foul trouble. However, Ellsworth gave the team a huge boost. She hit four early three-pointers, most of them difficult pull-up threes or shots well beyond the arc. Combined with her fast-break layup off her own steal, this gave her 14 of Ilwaco’s first 18 points and helped the Fishermen to an 18-8 cushion. At the half, the Fishermen led 35-19, with Ellsworth’s 17 points accounting for the difference.

Ilwaco started the second half on a 16-2 run, during which Kaech had eight points and two steals. Northwest Christian responded with a 23-7 run, fueled by Sowers’ scoring. However, Ilwaco remained ahead 58-44 with only 3:00 to go and went on to win by sixteen.

The Fishermen have still won every Pacific League game by double digits. Saturday’s game against the last-place Navigators was their second closest against a fellow 2B team all year; the closest was a 72-62 win over Raymond.

Ellsworth finished with 20 points and 5 steals, and Kaech added 19 points and 5 steals. Madeline Jacobson had 16 points and nine rebounds for Ilwaco. Heidi Sowers scored 25 points for Northwest Christian, Lauren Dominguez added 14 points and Elizabeth Stottlemyre scored 11.

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