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La Grande’s Denise Comfort scored eight points in the Lady Tigers’ 68-59 victory over Pendleton Friday. CASEY KELLAS - The Observer
The La Grande High School girls basketball team kicked off the 2012-13 season against visiting Pendleton Friday night, and the Lady Tigers came out on top with a 68-59 decision.
“We played a little hurried,” assistant coach Bob Bedard said.
The game was a physical and scrappy affair between the two non-league rivals.
With LHS leading 6-5 early in the first, a Lauren Mills three-pointer sparked a 10-0 run to stretch
La Grande’s lead to 16-5.
The Lady Tigers led 19-8 after the first quarter.
“We have a strong first rotation. Those girls did a great job,” Bedard said.
But the Bucks didn’t lay down.
A 7-0 Pendleton run midway through the second quarter cut the lead to 23-16.
The Bucks got within two points at 27-25 with 2:15 left before halftime and finally tied it at 27 on a lay-in with 27 seconds to go.
The teams went to the locker room knotted up at 27-all.
“Pendleton did a good job of attacking us in the halfcourt and attacking in the backcourt. The big challenge for us is to move our feet on defense,” Bedard said.
A Breanna Partney three-pointer got the second half started and put LHS back on top, 30-27.
La Grande reeled off 10 straight points after that to extend its lead to 40-27.
Pendleton, meanwhile, struggled out of the gates in the second half.
The Bucks didn’t score their first points until a free throw with 4:17 to play.
LHS led 48-36 after three quarters.
“In the first game we’re looking for execution in halfcourt offense and halfcourt defense,” Bedard said.
“There isn’t a lot of pressing going on in the first game because the conditioning isn’t there.”
The Lady Tigers got their lead to as much as 16 points on three occasions in the fourth quarter, but Pendleton did make a run.
Just inside the three-minute mark the Bucks cut the score to 61-53. They got within six points with 1:09 to play when it was 65-59.
But La Grande didn’t buckle and was able to seal the game at the free-throw line to start the season with a victory.
Partney finished with a game-high 21 points, while Lexus Miller-Moylan added 15.
Mills finished with 12, Denise Comfort scored eight, and both Madison Elliott and Lilly Page chipped in four.
La Grande will travel to play Fruitland (Idaho) Friday.
The Lady Tigers’ next home game is Dec. 21 when they host Burns.