Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Braves Sports, Jan. 18, 2012

Photo by Melissa Reynolds
Braves follow script to reel in Cedar Park
By Bill Reynolds
There were class, glass, and brass acts on Friday when the La Conner Braves took center stage at the James Gym.
And what a show it was.
The Braves remained unbeaten in league play, 7-0, and improved to 12-1 overall with a highlight reel effort against Cedar Park Christian.
La Conner's convincing 82-56 victory coincided with a special appearance by the University of Washington pep band and halftime ceremonies honoring the Braves' 1992 Tri-District title team.
But the night's most dramatic moment may well have been La Conner frontliner Landy James' emphatic two-handed dunk off the glass, after having snared a perfectly placed backboard feed from Braves' point guard Mike Wilbur.
The rousing slam drew oohs and aahs from a standing room only crowd.
And that was just the Cedar Park side.
The La Conner stands went absolutely bonkers.
It was a fitting hookup for James and Wilbur, who combined to torment Cedar Park from the get-go.
James finished with a game-high 30 points, going 10 of 15 from the floor while knocking down four of six treys.
He also sank six of nine free throws in addition to grabbing seven rebounds, collecting six steals, and dishing off a pair of assists.
Wilbur likewise filled the stat sheet.
He scored 15 points on five-of-nine shooting, hitting two of five attempts from beyond the three-point arc.
Wilbur's evening included a team-best four assists – including the textbook carom lob to James – three steals, and two rebounds.
Wilbur's backcourt partner, Spencer Novak, enjoyed another strong outing, as well.
Novak delivered 16 points, four rebounds, three steals, and three assists.
He continued his hot outside shooting of late, burying four of seven trey attempts.
Jonah Cook (7), Sean Hulbert (5), Jared Fohn (3), Wil James (3), Skyler Krueger (2), and Bjorn Mejlaender (1) rounded out the potent La Conner attack.
Fohn helped stretch Cedar Park's defense with a three-pointer and three assists from the perimeter, then went inside for five rebounds. 
La Conner bolted to a 22-12 first period lead and never looked back, allowing Braves' head coach Scott Novak the luxury of tapping his deep and talented bench.
"The guys stepped it up defensively," he said afterward, "and played a great game. The neat thing is we were able to play many different combinations of players."
He noted that Jamall James and Cameron Sherman also logged quality minutes in reserve roles. James grabbed two rebounds and handed out an assist. Sherman pulled down three boards.
Cook was La Conner's most effective board man, finishing with a game-high 10 rebounds. He also assisted twice on nice feeds from the post.
All in all, it was a festive night against a potentially dangerous league foe.
"We had a bit of a sluggish start," coach Novak allowed, "but we got into a rhythm."
So did the Husky and La Conner High bands, which had the gym rocking from start to finish.
"It was a fun night with the Husky band and just a great atmosphere," Novak said.
The Braves were hoping to produce yet more positive notes in Tuesday's scheduled late action at Shoreline Christian.
La Conner is slated to resume its league slate this Friday, Jan. 20, at Mount Vernon Christian.

Photo by Karla Reynolds
Lady Braves force hoop foes into meltdowns
By Bill Reynolds
The weather outside was frightful, but indoor conditions of late have been just as tough on La Conner High girls' hoop opponents.
The Lady Braves last week stormed past Cedar Park Christian and Seattle Academy, two teams that couldn't weather La Conner's hot shooting.
La Conner routed Cedar Park 51-15 Friday at home, then downed Seattle Academy 57-20 Saturday on the road.
With the twin wins, La Conner improved to 10-4 overall and leapt atop league standings with a 7-1 mark going into this Tuesday's late scheduled action at Shoreline Christian.
The Lady Braves are slated this Friday, Jan. 20, at traditional local rival Mount Vernon Christian.
But given the fact La Conner's entire roster contributed to the Cedar Park and Seattle triumphs, the Lady Braves allowed themselves the luxury of briefly celebrating those wins before going forward.
"The girls played really well against Cedar Park," La Conner head coach Scott Novak said afterward. "And what was great about it was everyone got to play and make an impact."
Same was true a day later against Seattle Academy, a club not lacking in speed and athleticism.
"They're a fast and aggressive team," coach Novak acknowledged. "They put pressure on us, but we responded well."
Nikki Finley had 10 points to lead 11 La Conner scorers against Cedar Park. Her stat line included two perimeter treys in five attempts.
Katie Novak added seven tallies for the victors, including the Lady Braves' one other three-point bomb.
The issue was decided early as La Conner raced to a quick 18-2 lead. By halftime, the margin had swelled to 28-5.
Priscilla Ponce-Venegas (6), Siomi Bobb (6), Alyssa McCormick (5), Emily Anderson (4), Carly Anderson (4), Aubrey Stewart (4), Kelley McClung (2), Lauren Reynolds (2), and Emma Christianson (1) all joined the La Conner point parade.
But those numbers don't begin to tell the whole story.
McClung continued her extended stretch of fine all-around play, adding three steals, two assists, and two rebounds to the Lady Braves' cause.
Ponce-Venegas snared a team-best 11 rebounds despite playing limited minutes. McCormick and Stewart each grabbed seven boards.
Reynolds added six rebounds and three steals, and dished off an assist, as did Ponce-Venegas and both Carly and Emily Anderson.
The Lady Braves played unselfishly and again looked for open shooters at Seattle Academy.
Ponce-Venegas, who led all scorers Saturday with 16 points, also paced the Lady Braves with five assists.
McClung added three assists to go with four points, four rebounds, and two steals.
McCormick (7), Katie McKnight (5), Emily Anderson (5), Christianson (5), Finley (4), Stewart (4), Novak (3), Bobb (2), and Carly Anderson (2) likewise reached the scoring column for La Conner at Seattle Academy.
Novak meshed La Conner's lone trey, while Christianson was perfect both from the field, two-of-two, and charity stripe, one-of-one.
Carly Anderson hit her only shot of the night as La Conner was a torrid 52 per cent – 24 of 46 – from the floor.
In addition to McClung, four other Lady Braves – Ponce-Venegas, McKnight, McCormick, and Stewart – had at least four rebounds.
Reynolds chipped in two caroms and an assist, while Finley forced a pair of Seattle turnovers with steals.
La Conner led 27-15 at the break, then put the game on ice with a 15-0 third period run. The Lady Braves finished strong, closing with a 15-5 spurt in the final stanza.

Photo by Christy Hoagland
La Conner Braves wrestlers participated in the match held Friday at Chief Leschi.

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