MONTESANO - Elma careened to a 58-41 victory over the Lady Fishermen in the opening round of the 2004 District IV tournament in Montesano Thursday.
A disappointed coach Glenn Padgett said following the loss, "We had too many unforced turnovers. You just can't give the ball away that many times and expect to win at district."
Ilwaco had built a 9-4 lead in the first four minutes of the contest on three Ashley Kitzman hoops on some nifty post moves. She added a free throw and Ashley Fauver, who had assisted Kitzman twice, stole a Lady Eagle pass and went the length of the court for a driving lay-up.
At that point, the Lady Fishermen had but one turnover and had forced Elma into four. The final four minutes of the initial quarter set the tone for the remainder of the contest. Ilwaco had 4 turnovers and Elma's 6-foot junior post sensation, Willow Cabe, scored 10 points to draw within 2 of the Lady Fishermen at 15-13.
At the 7:12 mark in the second period, Cabe again potted a jumper to give the Lady Eagles a 17-15 lead they never relinquished. Ilwaco's Kitzman scored the only 2 points in the second stanza. At intermission, Elma led 29-17 and had gone on a 19-2 binge. Cabe poured in 19 points the first 16 minutes on a variety of post moves, put backs and jump shots, and Kitzman had 13 points in the paint for the Lady Fishermen.
Ilwaco closed to within 34-25 with 4:27 left in the third period as Fauver hit a jumper and a three-pointer and passed to Kitzman for a back-door lay-up. Cabe answered with a pair of long threes and set up two other teammates with passes for lay-ins as Elma fashioned a 46-32 margin going into the final period.
With personal foul and traveling calls as rare as dinosaur eggs, the game became ragged on several occasions as frustration set in on both squads. Katie Holmes and Kitzman both went down in the second half with bumps to the face - both times Elma ended up at the free throw line. Elma was whistled for a dozen fouls and Ilwaco 14 for the game.
The Lady Eagles double- and triple-teamed Kitzman throughout the raucous contest, but the Ilwaco junior was able to knock down 25 points and gather in 10 rebounds. Katie Holmes scored 3 points and added 9 rebounds while Fauver hit from long range for 10 points, contributed 3 steals and passed for 4 assists. Anna Kitzman's trey in the fourth quarter was the only other scoring for the Lady Fishermen.
Fifteen of Ilwaco's 18 turnovers were of the unforced kind and Elma lost the ball on 16 miscues. The taller Lady Eagles gathered in 36 rebounds to Ilwaco's 26 and used their superior height and leaping ability to block six shots.
Ilwaco was 17 of 55 from the field for a lowly 31 percent and made only 4 of 7 charity tosses, while Elma sank 14 of 21 (67 percent) from the line and made 21 of 58 shots from the field for a 36 percent success rate.
"We've played the top three teams in our league much tougher than we did against Elma tonight," Padgett explained. "They were a beatable team, but we didn't play our best game. Now we're going to have to play two good games or it (the season) is over," he concluded.
Ilwaco is now 13-8 on the year and will face Tenino, a 52-40 loser to Ridgefield, at 6 p.m. in Battle Ground, in a loser-out fray.
Ilwaco 15 2 15 9 - 41
Elma 13 16 17 12 - 58
Ilwaco-Ashley Kitzman 25, Fauver 10, Anna Kitzman 3, Holmes 3, Robyn Unruh, Ariel Barker, Nicole Adams-Davis, Allison Brooks, Heather Bartlett, Bonnie Perez
Elma-Cabe 28, Waltenburg 14, Gray 6, Wilson 5, Mahugh 3, Huttula 2