Wednesday, March 2, 2011/lk
The game plan was simple for The Dalles-Wahtonka girls basketball team in Hood River Friday night: Stop Angie Titus.
"We just didn't want her to score half their points," TDW coach Dan Telles said.
With Jaci Bryant, HRV's other main scoring threat, out with a knee injury, the Eagle-Indians doubled and at times, triple-teamed, the Eagles' star post.
Titus scored nine points, and with her ability to produce limited, the rest of the HRV offense fell apart and TDW won 45-32.
"That was the game plan," said TDW's Nikki McCall. "If she couldn't score, no one else could."
McCall led a balanced TDW attack and led all scorers with 16 points.
She also hit one of the key shots of the game, a three-pointer with 4:51 to play that gave TDW an 11-point lead and firm command of the game.
Unlike the previous two meetings between the teams, the Eagle-Indians were able to establish an offensive rhythm early, jumping out to a 10-3 lead. The Eagles fought back and got hot to start the second quarter. Katie White opened the frame with a three-pointer to give HRV the lead, and the Eagles would eventually build the advantage to as much as five points. However, the Eagle-Indians came right back to tie the game at 18-18 at the half.
"We were just tired of playing in a slump," McCall said. "We had a lot more intensity."
Emily Ing was the only HRV scorer in double figures, finishing with 11. Nine of her points came on three-pointers as the Eagles tried to establish a three-point shooting pattern to counter the loss of Bryant and the crack down on Titus.
"They made it real tough for her," HRV coach Tom Ames said of the TDW game plan. "We knew we had to have some other people step up."
Ing hit a three-pointer midway through the third to get the Eagles within four points, but it was the Eagle-Indians who came up with most of the big shots from long range.
Andrea North hit a pair of three-pointers early in the third quarter to help TDW build momentum and then Emily Bailey hit a 15-foot jumper just before the third quarter buzzer to give TDW a six-point lead heading into the fourth.
The Eagle-Indians had only two field goals in the fourth, but they didn't even need many thanks to McCall's three-pointer and the Eagles' inability to counter. HRV had no field goals in the fourth and repeatedly air-balled shots as they began to tire.
"We didn't hit our open shots," Ames said.
The TDW defense did not give the Eagles much to work in the fourth quarter regardless, and the Eagles could only take difficult shots against a shifty Eagle-Indian defense.
"They moved us around the zone very well," Ames said.
The win gave TDW a 3-1 season series win over HRV, and more importantly, second place in the Columbia River Conference. The second place finisher in the conference gets a home game for the Round of 32 regional play-in round.
"It's going to be real big," McCall said of getting the home game. "It determines if we go on or not and we all want to go on."
Meanwhile the Eagles will be hitting the road in the round of 32 to play Milwaukie.
The Mustangs finished fourth in the Northwest Oregon Conference with an overall record of 10-12. HRV and Milwaukie have not met this season.
With Bryant likely out for the playoffs after suffering ligament damage at Hermiston last week, Ames said his team is going to have to learn to adapt on the fly.
"Part of it is getting a feel for each other again," he said. "But they are already battle tested in team dynamic changes after last year."
Last season the Eagles lost two of their top scorers to knee injuries midway through the season but came back to make the state playoffs and Ames hopes that they can make that happen again.
Friday's game was the final home regular season game for HRV seniors Titus, Bryant, Ing, Linda Lara and Brielle Perron, who were honored before the game.
"They are like children to me," Ames said. "All of them are."
HRV's game at Milwaukie is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.