Rangers pick up win after picking up their intensity

Leana Abille exposed the underside of her lip to show the beating it had taken.

“I got one here, and one here,” she said, referring to back-to-back elbows that bloodied her during Olympic College’s 77-67 win over Shoreline on Wednesday, Jan. 2 at Bremer Center Gym.

“And they didn’t call a foul either time,” said Abille, who scored a career-high 20 points as the Rangers picked up the intensity in the final 10 minutes to win their first Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Northern Division game in two years.

Abille’s bloody lip was a badge of honor.

“She looks like a wounded warrior,” said coach Rick Peters, who helped pull the 1999 Central Kitsap grad to her feet after she dove for a loose ball late in the game near OC’s bench. “That’s all I ask of the girls … just the effort. Nothing pisses me off more than if there’s a ball on the floor and no one goes after it. That kind of hustle sets the tone.”

Abille scored seven of her points during a decisive 15-2 five-minute run after the Rangers trailed 57-51 with just under 10 minutes to play.

Melissa Edwards (12 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists), Dana Diehl (15 points), Tishala Rought (7 points), Beth Grams (6 points, 11 rebounds) and Abille, who also had nine rebounds, was the unit that clicked after the Rangers blew a six-point halftime lead with another slow second-half start.

“We begin second halves like that. That’s been our problem all year. The intensity wasn’t there, but we picked it up,” Abille said. “We pulled through at the end. We started feeling more like a team. The subs were screaming on the bench. It was great. It just makes you feel like diving for the ball.”

It wasn’t a pretty game, and Peters said Shoreline’s running style was partly to blame.

“They were a little ugly in transition and it made the ball game kind of ugly,” Peters said. “The last 10 minutes, it seemed a little more controlled because they got tired and stopped running.”

But they kept shooting. Actually, both squads did. The Rangers (29 of 83, 34.9 percent) and Dolphins (30 of 104, 28.8 percent) combined to put up 187 shots. That’s an unusually high number. By comparison, there were only 144 attempted shots in the fast-paced men’s game between Olympic and Shoreline.

The Rangers, who won just two games a year ago, carry a two-game winning streak and 4-8 overall record to Port Angeles tonight to face Peninsula (0-1, 2-9).

“When you start winning, it’s a great feeling,” said Abille, who sat out a year after high school before deciding to play college basketball. “It’s so much more fun when you’re winning.”

Peters hopes his Rangers can make winning a habit. After tonight, OC travels to Bellevue (0-0, 3-7) on Wednesday, Jan. 9.

“I see us coming out 3-0 and being in contention for at least a top-4 finish,” Peters said of the North Division race. “These girls are capable.”

Notes: Jayme Baxter, freshman from Klahowya, started at center for Shoreline (5-6 overall). Baxter had 6 points and 6 rebounds in 12 minutes. … Freshman Danielle Friedrich from Chimacum, scored four points for the Dolphins. … Shaneta Lewis, expected to be Olympic’s leading scorer this season, wasn’t able to clear eligibility requirements after her transcripts arrived. She transferred from an Oklahoma junior college.

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