LYNDEN - Sehome's struggles on offense didn't have so much to do with shot selection as it did with getting shots at all.
White River's full-court-trap defense forced the Mariners to commit 35 turnovers - 22 of which came in the first half - no doubt helping the Hornets cruise to a 47-20 win at the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic basketball tournament Friday, Dec. 27, at Lynden Christian High School.
Ball security was an almost-instant problem for the Mariners' girls' basketball team, which committed turnovers on three of its first five possessions to visiting White River.
"Unfortunately, there are just some things we need to work on, and that's taking care of the basketball," Sehome coach Kim Kirk said. "They had a great press, but I think we helped them with not making good ball fakes and seeing the open player."
The Hornets jumped out to a 14-0 lead with 2:38 left in the first after Kristin Sturdivan accounted for eight of her game-high 12 points with back-to-back 3-pointers and a baseline jumper in the first few possessions.
Sehome's only points in the quarter came with less than two minutes remaining when junior guard Megan Bayless hit two free throws and followed that up with a 3-pointer off an assist from Maddy Bryan. Bayless finished with a team-high eight points, although she had shots rim out on several occasions that could have added to a much bigger day for the junior.
She wasn't complaining afterward, though.
"It was finally nice to have some threes start to go in," Bayless said. "Last year, I definitely struggled with confidence and just (tried) to continue to build it up and that was definitely helpful with that."
Sehome's lack of confidence scoring the basketball has been a point of emphasis for Kirk, and as her team stared up at a 23-10 halftime deficit after shooting 3 of 23 from the field in the first half, the halftime talk mirrored that.
"We needed to ball fake and reverse the basketball," said Kirk of what she told her girls at the break.
Still, sometimes the shots, however good they look, just wouldn't fall.
"We have kids that can hit the outside shot. Unfortunately there were a ton that went in and out, in and out, and (White River) had a ton that went in and out and in," Kirk said. "I think once we kind of find the confidence of knowing that we can put the ball in the hole, I think we're going to see more points on the board."
The second half wasn't much kinder to Sehome, which was outscored 11-2 in the third quarter. Leading the charge for the Hornets was junior post Amanda Lance, who accounted for all five of her points in the quarter.
Despite the apparent lack of size, though, the Mariners held their own rebounding, with Bryan sliding down to play the power forward and collecting 11 rebounds in the process.
"I thought for the most part our smaller kids, they've really learned how to use their bodies as the season has gone on," Kirk said. "That's something they just have to continually learn how to do because some of them are definitely at a size disadvantage."
Sehome outrebounded White River 39-29 in the game, but that couldn't make up for a 6 for 43 shooting performance from the field.
The Mariners found some semblance of success in the fourth quarter, getting to the free-throw line eight times en route to an eight-point quarter - their most in the game.
"I think we were more taking our coaches advice," said Bayless, referring to Kirk's urging of moving the ball with more fluidity while on offense. "We were ball faking more and just kind of applying what we've been working on at practice."
The loss provided a learning lesson, Bayless said, for a team that is still trying to find its identity.
Reach Alex Bigelow at email@example.com or call 360-715-2238. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for other Whatcom County sports updates.
WHITE RIVER 47, SEHOME 20
White River 16 7 11 13 - 47
Sehome 5 5 2 8 - 20
Away: Amanda Lance 5, Kristin Sturdivan 12, Taylor Hillius 2, Darian Gore 11, No. 30 5, Sydney Anderson 5, Delaney Lewis 6, Maci Goethals 0, Bailey Mills 0, Ashlea Mills 1, Kayla Howard 0. Team totals: 17-56 8-20 47.
Sehome: Jenny McIntyre 0, Maddy Bryan 6, Mackenzie Caldwell 0, Megan Bayless 8, Madison MacPhee 1, Devin Grahn 0, Danielle Strasser 2, Madison Ulrich 3, Chanelle Eddy 0, Hannah Holmgren 0, Olivia Messenger 0. Team totals: 6-43 5-17 20.
3-ptg: White River (Sturdivan 3), Sehome (Bayless 3). Rebounds: White River 29 (Gore 9), Sehome 39 (Bryan 11). Assists: White River 4 (Sturdivan 3), Sehome 3 (Bryan 2). Fouls: White River 18 (NA), Sehome 17 (NAt). Turnovers: White River 16, Sehome 35.