La Grande corrals Pioneers

January 22, 2014 10:52 am

La Grande’s Kali Avila (31) drives past McLoughlin defender Amber Wells (42) during a 63-25 win to open the Greater Oregon League schedule Tuesday. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
La Grande’s Haley White (2) drives past a McLoughlin defender during the Tigers' 63-25 win to open the Greater Oregon League schedule Tuesday. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

The moment the La Grande girls basketball team dreaded happened to coincide with a day it had been looking forward to. The Tigers opened the Greater Oregon League schedule at home against McLoughlin, and also will be without Lexus Miller-Moylan. 

Miller-Moylan’s family moved to Beaverton, and the junior went to join her family. 

“It was time for her to go and be with them,” La Grande assistant coach Bob Bedard said. “We’re going to miss her work ethic and skill, but we knew it was coming.”

La Grande found more than enough offense during a 63-25 win against McLoughlin to fill the void left by Miller-Moylan’s absence.

Sophomore Kylin Collman, typically the first player off the bench, stepped into the starting lineup. 

“We wanted to get this first league game under our belts,” Collman said. “We’re a young team, and this is a big win. It helps that we’ve all been playing together for about four years, and we can pick each other up if one of us gets down.

“I was really nervous about getting the start. But, I knew I needed to play well for the team and for myself to get to where we want to be.”

Sophomore Avery Albrecht got things going for the Tigers after a slow start in the first quarter. La Grande trailed 6-2 three minutes into the game, but Albrecht scored seven points during a 11-2 run to close out the quarter. 

Collman kept the run going in the second quarter. Her first 3-pointer of the quarter pushed the lead to 20-8. McLoughlin’s field goal drought ended with 2:14 left in the first half with a basket by MacKenzie Fite. The Pioneers went a span of 10 minutes without a field goal, going 1-of-14 from the floor during that cold stretch. Collman’s second 3-pointer capped La Grande’s scoring in the first half, pushing the lead to 27-12.

“Kylin did a great job playing the point guard role for us tonight,” Bedard said. “When McLoughlin tried to switch to a zone in the second quarter, she found the spot to get her shot. She did a good job handling the ball and getting our offense started.”

Auslin McDaniel-Perrin spent the fall season protecting the net as a goalie for the Tigers’ soccer team, but on the hardcourt she’s protecting the rim for opposing players. The 5-foot-6 wing battled with Makia Carlson all night long. Carlson had a seven-inch advantage in the match-up, but McDaniel-Perrin won the battle.”

“The double foul in the first quarter between those two girls set the tone,” Bedard said. “Auslin did a great job playing physical in the paint.”

Carlson finished with four points on 2-of-10 shooting from the floor. McDaniel-Perrin went 3-of-5, with all six points coming the in paint.

Collman led all scorers with 17 points, while Albrecht finished with 13 points.

Kali Avila scored nine of her 13 points in the fourth quarter for La Grande. She had a perfect night from the free-throw line, shooting 7-of-7.

La Grande (8-4 overall, 1-0 GOL) outrebounded McLoughlin 25-18. The Tigers also shot 24-of-48 from the floor, including 5-of-12 from behind the arc. The Pioneers went 11-of-34 from the floor. McLoughlin missed the only 3-point shot it attempted on the night.

Shannon Carter led the Pioneers with 11 points.

La Grande will travel to Baker City for a 6 p.m. game Friday.