POULSBO — The shot Laura Jensen hit Tuesday afternoon wasn’t a game-winner. It wasn’t a halfcourt shot. It didn’t even tie the game.
But Jensen’s quarter-court heave, which came at the end of the third quarter of the Kingston-Poulsbo game and dragged the Cavaliers within two points, may have turned the tide of the game, which the Cavs went on to win 50-41.
To hit the shot, Jensen heaved up a high, straight shot that somehow kept on course and fell into the basket.
Cavalier coach Tony Chisholm, who thought that Jensen could have taken a few more dribbles and gone in for a safer shot, went from irritation to elation in the time it takes a net to ripple.
“At first I was like, ‘Oh, no’ … I thought she could have taken a few more dribbles,” Chisholm said of the shot, which left Poulsbo with a 34-32 lead. “Then I saw it was on line.”
The bench was equally surprised, with players popping out of their chairs as if on springs and raising their arms.
But the Cavs still had to contend with a tenacious Panther team that had stuck close to Kingston when the Cavs had gained an early lead, then battled their way to build a lead of their own.
The Cavaliers had built a five-point lead in the second quarter when Rachael Kramer found a cutting Sam Bammes for a bucket inside.
But the hard-charging Panthers came back, starting when Kamryn Morgan was fouled and buried both free throws.
A Katie Swanlund bucket inside followed.
A Britta Olson free throw followed.
And when Kim Skelly, fouled at the end of a fast break, sank the first free throw, Poulsbo had tied the game.
The Panthers spent the third quarter stretching the lead. Another bucket inside for Swanlund, a pair of layups for Skelly, and a three-pointer by Meghan Jaynes helped put Poulsbo up by seven.
Kingston chipped away at that lead, finally narrowing it to two points on Jensen’s high-arcing shot.
And the Cavaliers outscored the Panthers 18-7 in the fourth quarter to take the game.
Poulsbo head coach Karla Hawes was unhappy with the outcome, but was glad the Panthers (5-4) executed better than they did the last time they met the Cavaliers.
“It wasn’t the game I was hoping for,” Hawes said, “but we played better than we did in Kingston. Better in all ways. We executed our offense a lot better, handled their press a lot better. But their shots were falling, and ours weren’t.”
The Panthers face Bremerton tomorrow to end the season.
The Cavaliers (8-3) played their last game with the win over the Panthers.
“They gave us a tough game,” said Chisholm. “They played scrappy defense, and Katie (Swanlund) is a force inside.”
Chisholm said, “It was a fast-paced game. Things were going fast, and we adjusted.”
(Kingston (51) Jasmine Hill 18, Kristen Sprague 5, Molly McCluskey 5, Shayla Urie 4, Jenna Reed 4, Katie West 4, Laura Jensen 3, Jennifer Buckner 2, Monica Fulton 2, Sam Bammes 2, Rachael Kramer 2, Tiera Hudson 1. Poulsbo (41) Katie Swanlund 14, Kim Skelly 8, Britta Olson 6, Kamryn Morgan 4, Meghan Jaynes 4, Aleene Lydick 3, Miranda Edje 2).