LA GRANDE GIRLS STORM BACK
By Pierre LaBossire
Observer Staff Writer
CORVALLIS The La Grande basketball girls played today for fifth place in the state 3A tournament, qualifying for the consolation bracket championship with a 49-34 win Friday over a physical Valley Catholic team.
La Grande took home the eighth place trophy after today's loss to Cascade in overtime. More coverage of today's game will be published Monday.
Valley Catholic (21-8 overall) isn't a team that scores much, but the Valiants also came into the state tournament giving up just 34 points a game.
They showed La Grande why they are so tough to score against, playing a rough, intimidating style of defense that did bother the Tigers in the first half. La Grande shot just 32 percent (7-for-22) in that first half.
La Grande (20-8 overall) went into halftime on a down note, failing to score over the final four minutes of the second quarter. Valley Catholic, meanwhile, ended the half on a 7-0 run and went into the break ahead 21-20.
But, the La Grande girls made adjustments, especially on defense, and took over quickly in the second half. Amber Rasmussen, who led the Tigers with 17 points, scored six points in the third quarter and Christie Weaver scored five as La Grande outscored the Valiants 15-5. Valley Catholic shot just 29 percent in the second half (5-for-17) and the Tigers ended up outscoring the Valiants 29-13 over the final 16 minutes. Not a single player for Valley Catholic ended up in double figures.
Everybody for the Tigers chipped in. Weaver scored 14 points and had four steals. Amanda Schuft had 12 points and shot 6-for-7 from the free-throw line. Jill Jensen had five assists and Kayla Crouch had six rebounds.
Though the Valiants seemed to be initiating much of the physical play, two Valley Catholic players went out with injuries after collisions with La Grande girls.
"We played much better defense (in the second half)," said coach Isaac
Williams. "We picked up our defensive intensity."
Williams admitted it was not a pretty game, but he said the La Grande girls played hard.
"I don't know if we played well, but we played well enough to win. It was rough around the edges, but how many times do you play three games in three days," he said.
La Grande played early Saturday morning in Gill Coliseum against the Cascade Cougars (out of Turner). The Cougars (21-6) qualified for the fifth-place game by beating Henley 64-45.
La Grande and Cascade have a common opponent in Rainier. La Grande beat Rainier in the playoffs 64-43, while Cascade beat Rainier twice, 57-45 and 64-56.
La Grande girls 10 10 15 14 49
Valley Catholic 12 9 5 8 34
La Grande Jill Jensen 1 0-1 2, Christie Weaver 5 2-2 14, Amanda Schuft 3 6-7 12, Amber Rasmussen 7 3-4 17, Kayla Crouch 1 2-5 4, Jenna Jensen, Amanda Timm, Nikki Nielson. Totals: 17 13-19 49.
Valley Catholic Katherine Gram 4 0-1 8, Lindsay Gates 2 0-0 5, Millie Haener 2 4-7 8, Katee Whitney 2 0-0 4, Mary Younkin 1 01 2, Maryann Pompili 2 0-0 4, Ali Murray 1 1-1 3, Megan Harinski, Adria Gredvig, Meg Coussens, Meagan Reding, Claire Nachtigal. Totals: 14 5-10 34.
Three-pointers La Grande 2 (Weaver 2); Valley Catholic 1 (Gates). Fouled out None. Total fouls La Grande 16, Valley Catholic 16. Technical fouls None.