One of the state’s best

By Casey Kellas April 02, 2013 09:56 am

 Partney selected to all-state first team; Mills, Comfort also get honored 

by Casey Kellas/The Observer

The 2012-13 season will go down as one of the best in La Grande girls basketball history, and to cap off the year, the Lady Tigers were well represented in the 4A all-state selections released last week.

Breanna Partney, who was the Greater Oregon League player of the year, was named to the all-state first-team, just missing out on player-of-the-year honors.

Mazama’s Hannah Reynolds took that award.

Lauren Mills, a first-team all-state selection last year, made the second team this season, while Denise Comfort was an honorable mention.

“They all bought into what we wanted done,” LHS head coach Doug Girdner said of his players. 

“It’s a hard thing to work hard. Not a lot of people are willing to do that. But the kids bought into that. I couldn’t be more proud.

“They brought La Grande girls basketball back into state contention.”

The selection puts the finishing touches on an impressive career for Partney. She finishes with 1,050 points after scoring 425 this season. She pulled down 147 rebounds and added 100 steals this year.

“She had a lot more determination to get the job done this season,” Girdner said of Partney. 

“She was pretty focused. And she played a lot smarter this year. She’s always hungry for the ball, but she did a good job of staying out of foul trouble.”

Partney also led the team in shooting, hitting 51 percent of her field goals and connecting on 103-of-157
(66 percent) free throws.

“We had an amazing season. I love my team. It’s an amazing team,” Partney said at the state tournament.

“It’s definitely something I’ll remember forever.”

Mills also finished her career with more than 1,000 points, going over the mark in the state title game against Mazama. 

She finishes with 1,003 points. Mills scored 350 this past season, had 170 rebounds and 75 assists.

“Lauren made a mental decision to play better defense this season,” Girdner said. “She gets low and pressures the ball. She struggled offensively during the first half of the year, but she finished the season strong. The last month she was our best player.”

Comfort makes the honorable mention squad just a few months after being a first-team all-state selection in volleyball. She scored 287 points and led the team with 212 rebounds and 133 assists.

“Denise is just an incredible athlete,” Girdner said. “She does more things on the court than anyone in the state at our level. She’s so strong.

“All of the girls were so unselfish. They played within themselves. It was a great four years.”

Partney was joined on the first team by Reynolds, Kassi Sanders (Cascade), Miranda Mendenhall (Sutherlin) and Riley Gerlinger (Banks).

Along with Mills, Megan Morris (Mazama), Taylor Nieri (Sisters), Sterling Swift (La Salle) and Mariah Stacona (Madras) made the second team.

And making up the honorable mention team with Comfort are Kayce Mock and Ricki Mock of Sutherlin, and Molly Webster of Gladstone.