Lady Tigers get back on track

By Casey Kellas, The Observer December 19, 2012 09:08 am

La Grande’s Lauren Mills had a team-high 22 points in the Lady Tigers’ 60-59 victory over Vale. CASEY KELLAS/The Observer
La Grande’s Lauren Mills had a team-high 22 points in the Lady Tigers’ 60-59 victory over Vale. CASEY KELLAS/The Observer

LHS snaps two-game skid, clips non-league foe Vale 

The La Grande girls basketball ball team ended its two game losing streak Tuesday night against visiting Vale.

But it sure wasn’t easy. 

In a game that featured 11 ties and 12 lead changes — neither team led by more than eight points — it was the Lady Tigers (3-2) who survived to come out with a 60-59 non-league victory over the Vikings (6-1).

The game was as evenly played as it could be and came down to the final minutes.

With the score tied at 55-all with 3:14 to play, La Grande’s Madison Elliott converted a three-point play to put the Lady Tigers on top 58-55.

Vale’s Megan Williams, who had a game-high 24 points, hit one of two free throws to cut it to 58-56 before a Lauren Mills field goal made it 60-56 with just under two minutes to play.

Vale answered with a three-pointer at the other end to get within 60-59, setting up a maddening final minute.

Instead of making Vale attempt to force a turnover, the Lady Tigers hurried on offense and missed a shot with 41 seconds left.

But on the ensuing fast break, Vale turned the ball over out of bounds and back to LHS, who returned the favor with a turnover with 11.4 to go in regulation.

“We rushed a shot at the end and had a careless turnover. Those are things that we are going to need to work on in practice,” assistant coach Bob Bedard said.

On the final possession of the game, Vale’s Becca Hawkins had a good look at a lay-in but was unable to convert, and La Grande was able to hang on for the close victory.

Mills finished with 22 points, while Elliott, Breanna Partney and Lexus Miller-Moylan all had eight. Denise Comfort added six points before fouling out with four minutes left in the fourth.

Anna Grigsby finished with four.

“Overall we’re pleased,” Bedard said. “We executed well on offense, especially in the first half. Our post play was excellent. Lauren had a great game. Lilly Page and Anna Grigsby both stepped in and did a good job for us after Denise fouled out.”

Bailey Gregory finished with 10 points, while Tessa Hamilton and Lea Fulk both scored nine points for the Vikings. Kelli Fulk added four.

“Vale executed as well. They are a good team. That’s why it was a close game,” Bedard said.

The Lady Tigers trailed 16-13 after the first quarter but used an 11-0 run in the second quarter to go up 24-17. 

LHS stretched it to 30-22 before six straight points by the Vikings got it to 30-28.

La Grande led 32-29 at halftime.

It remained close throughout the second half, with La Grande leading by as much as five on two occasions. In the fourth, Vale led 54-51 with 5:12 remaining. 

A pair of Miller-Moylan free throws with 4:05 left put LHS on top 55-54 and the Lady Tigers didn’t trail after that.

The Vikings entered the game 6-0, while La Grande was coming off consecutive losses to Kamiakin (Washington) and The Dalles-Wahtonka.

The Lady Tigers face Burns Friday starting at 6 p.m.

The Hilanders improved to 5-2 overall this season with a 50-35 victory over Ridgeview Tuesday.