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Turnovers topple Eagle girls in loss

By BEN MCCARTY

News staff writer

December 13, 2006

The Hood River Valley Eagles girls’ basketball team has been dealing with the turnover bug all season.

Through the first 14 minutes of the Eagles match up against the St. Mary’s Blues on Friday they seemed to have beaten it. They were shooting the ball well, and keeping themselves in the game with good passes and solid fundamentals. Then the bug reared its ugly head again.

The Blues took advantage of a sloppy second half to run away from the Eagles 60-51 Friday night.

“We had too many turnovers again,” Hood River coach Phil Hukari said. “That’s been our bugaboo so far.”

Amanda Davidson led the way for St. Mary’s with 23 points while Megan Clark countered with 23 of her own for the Eagles.

Both teams made fast runs at the basket in the early going with the Blues clinging to a 17-16 lead after the first quarter.

However, in the final minutes of the first half, things suddenly went bad for the Eagles.

Shots stopped falling for the Eagles, and St. Mary’s took advantage, using foul shots and quick cuts to the basket to stretch their lead to 34-27 at the half.

“We got tired down and we started making silly passes and turnovers,” Meredith Danko said of the Eagles’ struggles over the final minutes of the first half.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, those struggles carried into the second half. In its first six possessions of the second half Hood River turned the ball over three times, and St. Mary’s rebounded missed shots on two others.

The Blues continued to take advantage of the opportunities to score and had pushed their lead to 12 points by the end of the third quarter.

“We haven’t improved yet,” Hukari said. “We made the same mistakes we had the last two games.”

In the fourth quarter the Eagles rallied, but it would prove to be too little; too late.

With two minutes to go Megan Clark, who Hukari said “carried the team,” hit a three-pointer to trim the St. Mary’s lead to seven points at 54-47.

However, that would be as close as the Eagles would get down the stretch.

The Eagles turned the ball over on their possession, and St. Mary’s converted it into points, and was able to use free throws the rest of the way to keep the game out of reach.

In addition to Davidson’s 23 points the Blues got 12 points from Colleen O’Donell, while the Eagles got eight points apiece from Danko and Audrey Mallon.

After the game, St. Mary’s coach Jamie Gabbert was happy with the defensive intensity her team displayed to earn their first win of the season.

“We created good turnovers with our defense so I’m pretty pleased,” the third-year coach said. “They didn’t make it easy for us, though.”

On the other side the Eagles were left to figure out a way to minimize turnovers and to keep their offensive rhythm going.

“It’s a good learning experience because we played at a higher pace today,” Danko said. “We’ll learn how to handle pressure and finish shots.”

Hukari wants a stronger effort out of everyone on his team, and wants to see them execute better offensively and defensively.

“We’ve got to fine-tune a lot of things,” he said.

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