February 27, 2002 11:00 pm
SCRAMBLE: Cove's Toni Whittall (right) races after a loose ball with South Wasco's Mattee Miller during Wednesday's game. (Photo by S. JOHN COLLINS).
SCRAMBLE: Cove's Toni Whittall (right) races after a loose ball with South Wasco's Mattee Miller during Wednesday's game. (Photo by S. JOHN COLLINS).

By Gerry Steele

For The Observer

BAKER CITY There will be a new girls champion at the OSAA-U.S. Bank Class 1A Girls Basketball State Championships this year.

Kelcie Robinson and the Cove Leopards saw to that Wednesday when they handed defending champion South Wasco County a 39-34 loss in the first game of the tournament.

Third-ranked Cove (17-4) used a stifling full-court press in the first quarter to turn a 7-2 deficit into a 16-7 lead.

I missed my first layin and it was like Ugh, but after that everything was good, Robinson said about her 23-point, 11-rebound, five blocked-shot performance.

Kelcie made some moves yesterday that shes never made before, Cove coach Dick Royes said. She just came out and was determined not to be stopped. She had probably her best offensive game of the year.

Cove reached the state semifinals, where it will play Columbia Christian at 1 p.m. Friday. The Knights defeated Days Creek 51-37 Wednesday evening.

Tonight, Powder Valley plays Damascus Christian, and this afternoon Butte Falls meets Condon in the other quarterfinals.

After South Wasco took a 7-2 lead midway through the first quarter, consecutive baskets by Lisa Scheele, Amy Puckett and Robinson gave Cove the lead for good at 8-7 with 3:42 left in the quarter.

South Wasco made one last bid at a comeback late in the fourth quarter. The Redsides used four points by Alyssa Ashley and two each from Chelsey Hauser and Cassi Warnock to pull within 37-34 with 1:54 left in the game.

But a basket by Jennifer Johnson with 1:41 left sealed the win for the Leopards.

That basket was huge, Royes said. It was a great team victory for us. We had people playing certain roles yesterday. Carrie (Pereira) played fantastic defense. Toni Whittall did an outstanding job scrapping with those big girls for rebounds. Kathy Mann hit a couple of 3s in the first quarter that got us going.

Cove went on a 14-2 run after being down 7-2 in the first quarter. South Wasco (18-6) scored eight of the final 10 points in the first half four by Mattee Miller to pull within 25-21 at halftime.

After that it was pretty much all Robinson and Coves defense. The Leopards tightened the defensive screws even tighter, limiting the Redsides to just three points in the third quarter.

The main thing was we pretty much shut down their cutters going across through the key, Royes said. The guards did a great job of dropping in the paint and helping Kelcie and the forwards.

Meanwhile, Robinson dominated inside, scoring six of the Leopards eight points in the period.

Their whole purpose was to shut down Kelcie and she wasnt going to be denied, Royes said.

Ashley led the Redsides with 10 points. Hauser added nine rebounds. South Wasco played Days Creek this morning in a fourth-place semifinal.

South Wasco County 11 10 3 10 34

Cove 16 9 8 6 39

South Wasco County C.Warnock 2-15 2-2 7, Carter, Miller 2-4 0-0 4, Ashley 4-8 2-4 10, Hauser 2-8 3-4 7, Ewing 0-4 0-0 0, Rockmann 0-4 0-0 0, Kelly 0-1 0-0 0, A.Warnock 0-1 0-0 0, Palmquist, Rinearson 3-10 0-0 0, LeMeux. Totals: 13-55 7-10 34.

Cove Scheele 2-13 0-0 4, Whittal 0-2 0-2 0, Mann 3-8 0-0 8, Robinson 8-14 7-8 11, Puckett 1-5 0-0 2, Pereira 0-1 0-0 0, Jes.Johnson, Jen.Johnson 1-5 0-0 0, Mills. Totals: 15-48 7-10 39.

Three-pointers South Wasco County 1-11 (C.Warnock 1-8, Rockmann 0-2, Miller 0-1), Cove 2-6 (Mann 2-3, Scheele 0-3). Fouled out Ashley, Scheele. Total fouls South Wasco County 11, Cove 14. Technical fouls None. Turnovers South Wasco County 17, Cove 15 . Rebounds South Wasco County 41 (Hauser 9), Cove 35 (Robinson 11). Assists South Wasco County 8 (C.Warnock 2, Miller 2, Rinearson 2), Cove 8 (Scheele 4).