Elma High School girls basketball coach Lisa Johnson has got a chance to practice her halftime speeches in the last two weeks. She would rather not have to say a word.
Johnson lit a fire under her team at halftime against Aberdeen on Jan. 25 and the Lady Eagles went on to a 13-point victory. On Friday, Elma struggled with foul trouble in the first half and led by just six points at halftime over Rainier before an inspired second half to win 60-32.
“They got a butt chewing at halftime,” Johnson said. “We came out and played undisciplined defense, reaching and fouling. Almost every possession down the court we fouled in the first half, they had 16 of their 19 points from the free throw line. You can not get into any rhythm doing that.”
The Lady Eagles took their coach’s words to heart and came out with a strong focus in the second half. Elma held the Lady Mountaineers to three points in the third quarter and outscored Rainier 20-10 in the fourth quarter.
“Some kids stepped up that needed to step up and hit some shots,” Johnson said. “In the second half our transition started working and we got out and created a lot of turnovers, but it was still not the energy that we need to come and play with. We have to play at our level, not the team that we are playing’s level and we have a tendency to do that.”
Elma was led by 14 points from senior guard Brooke Goldsmith and 13 points from sophomore Maddie Thompson. Senior Taryn Farrar and sophomore Aspen Thompson each came off of the bench to score eight points for Elma and sophomore Jordan Hall added eight points.
Elma is tied for second place in the Evergreen 1A League with two games to play. Johnson said the Lady Eagles need to find their rhythm not just for the final two regular season games, but for any playoff run.
“It is coming into push time,” Johnson said. “It is playoff push time and we have to go after it and get better every game. We have to start hitting that peak.”