Defense has been the calling card for the Powder Valley Badgers girls basketball team this season.
It was again Saturday night, and it propelled the Badgers back to the state quarterfinals.
Megan Bingham scored a game-high 17 points and Powder Valley forced 27 turnovers and never trailed in a 49-28 home win over the Southwest Christian Wildcats in the second round of the 1A state playoffs.
“As a team we have good lockdown defense, so we know that a lot of teams can’t really play with us if we play really tight and aggressive defense,” Bingham said.
The defense has been stout of late, holding eight opponents to 30 points or less during Powder Valley’s current 10-game winning streak.
“We talked about defense in the locker room before, that (if) we play great defense, everything else will take care of itself, and it does,” Head Coach Allen Bingham said.
The defense, highlighted by its full-court press, harassed the Wildcats early and often. Nineteen of Southwest Christian’s turnovers came in the first half, many against the press. It helped the
Badgers to score the game’s first seven points and open an 11-2 lead on a steal and layup by Belle Blair.
The Badgers led by as much as 11 in the first, and used an 8-0 run late in the second — capped by a basket in the lane by Bingham — to go up 18 in the second before settling for a 26-10 lead at the half.
“We are growing the most defensively. Our defense is really good,” said Logan Nedrow, who had a strong all-round game with seven points, five steals and five assists for the Badgers. “Everyone who comes in the game is going to give 100 percent.”
Nedrow helped put the game completely out of reach early in the third with a 3-pointer and later a steal and layup for a 32-12 margin. Two buckets by Autumn Davis, who added 10 points, pushed the lead to 24, and the Badgers built as much as a 25-point lead in the fourth en route to the win.
The defense and rebounding helped offset the only downside for the Badgers Saturday — shooting. Powder Valley was just 21-for-57 for the game but collected 12 offensive rebounds. Josi Kreiger, who led the way with nine rebounds, grabbed five on the offensive end.
“We rebounded well, and (we) were taking good shots, (but) they were not going in,” Allen Bingham said.
Rachel Haas scored 14 points, all in the second half, to pace the Wildcats.
The victory sets up the Badgers (24-3 overall) in a quarterfinal matchup against Crane Thursday night in Baker City. Crane scored a 44-35 win over the Badgers back in December, but Nedrow said the team has improved since it was in that contest.
“We’re playing 100 percent better than we were at the beginning of the year, and I don’t think a lot of teams realize how much we’ve improved. We’re ready to come out in the state tournament and show people we are a good team,” she said.
Megan Bingham agreed the team is playing with more confidence than earlier in the year, and noted that defeating Joseph in the district tournament a week ago gave them a boost.
“After beating Joseph I think it gave us confidence in knowing we have potential to go super far (at state),” she said.
Joseph holds off Mohawk to reach quarters
Haley Miller scored 15 points to lead three players in double figures, and the Joseph Eagles girls basketball team built an early 22-point lead on the way to a 50-34 road win over the Mohawk Mustangs Saturday in the second round of the 1A state playoffs.
Joseph scored the final 15 points of the first quarter, with Sabrina Albee beating the buzzer to cap the run, for a 17-5 lead that it never relinquished. A 12-2 run in the second quarter gave the Eagles their largest lead at 31-9, and they led 32-15 at the break.
Mohawk pulled within 40-30 in the fourth quarter on a Peyton Robinson steal and layup but got no closer.
Madelyn Nelson added 14 points and Albee had 12 for Joseph. The Eagles shot just 13-for-49 but made up for it at the free-throw line, going 21-for-27.
The Eagles (25-3 overall) will face St. Paul in the state quarterfinals Thursday in Baker City. The teams met in early January, with the Buckaroos earning a 40-32 win.
Outlaws earn road win, first quarterfinal berth since 2013
For the first time since 2013, the Enterprise Outlaws girls basketball team is headed to the 2A state quarterfinals.
Carsyn Miller led three Outlaws in double figures with 11 points, and Enterprise used a 9-0 run late in the third quarter to take control on the way to a 45-34 road win over the Portland Christian Royals in a first-round game Saturday night.
Enterprise took a 19-15 lead at the half and was up by 10 before Portland Christian went on a 10-0 run to even the score at 28-28.
A timeout, though, reset the Outlaws, who responded with a 9-0 run to go into the fourth leading 37-28 and finish off the win.
Shelby Moncrief and Karli Bedard both added 10 points for Enterprise, a program Head Coach Mike Crawford said has been on the cusp of getting back to the quarterfinals.
“For the last four years we have been ranked in the top 16, and based on the old rules we never got into the fray. We’ve been knocking on the door,” Crawford said.
Enterprise lost in this round a year ago, but the returners who were in that game benefitted from being there.
“That experience paid off tonight,” Crawford said. “We lost four starters (from last year) but I’ve got three seniors this year and I’ve got enough athletes (along with them). They all want to do more.”
The win puts Enterprise (19-6 overall) into a quarterfinal matchup with Vernonia Thursday night in Pendleton. The Loggers enter the game coming off a 48-46 upset win over Monroe, the second seed and last year’s state runner-up.
Union ousted by Coquille in first round
The Union Bobcats girls basketball team hung with Coquille for about 20 minutes before the Red Devils pulled away for a 54-32 win in the first round of the 2A state playoffs on Saturday in Coquille.
Union took a 12-10 lead through one quarter, led late in the second before Coquille rallied to go up 22-17 at the half, and was still within single digits in the third. But Coquille built its lead to 43-31 after three quarters, then pulled away for the win.
Kaylin Nowak led the Bobcats with 14 points, while Callie Glenn and Kaylee Lantis both had four. Union, though, shot just 12-for-41 from the floor in the loss.
“I’m proud of our girls,” Head Coach Rhondie Rickman-Johansen said. “We’re young. We’ve known that all along. We never used that as an excuse.”
The Bobcats, who will lose only one player to graduation, finished with an overall record of 14-11, the most victories the team has had since winning 24 games in 2015.
La Grande’s season ends at hands of Warriors
The season came to an end for the La Grande Tigers boys basketball team one win shy of a state playoff berth as the Tigers fell to the Philomath Warriors on the road in the Class 4A state play-in round Friday, 59-44. It’s the first time La Grande has missed the playoffs since 2013.
A big second quarter by the Warriors set the Tigers back, as Philomath outscored La Grande in the second stanza 17-9 to build a 32-20 lead at the half. La Grande pulled within 45-35 after three, but the Warriors finished off the win in the fourth.
Kaleb Myer scored 12 points and hit four 3-pointers to lead La Grande. Hunter Youngblood added 11 points, and Kaden Chandler scored seven points.
The Tigers finished the season with a record of 7-13.
Badgers edged out by Wolves
The Power Valley Badgers boys basketball team fell short in its bid to get back to the 1A state quarterfinals, losing on the road to the Days Creek Wolves in the second round of the state playoffs Friday, 62-58.
A big second quarter allo wed the Badgers to erase a 10-point deficit and take a 29-26 lead at halftime. Days Creek responded with a 22-point third quarter to pull ahead, 48-47, after three quarters, then held on late.
The Badgers were hurt by hot 3-point shooting from Days Creek, as the Wolves were 13-for-25 from beyond the arc. Caleb Kruzic, who led the Wolves with 20 points, had six of those 3-pointers.
The Badgers, who lost despite shooting 58 percent, were led by Roper Bingham, who had 23 points and 11 rebounds. Reece Dixon added 15 points, and Moziss Nesser scored 10.
Powder Valley finished with an overall record of 17-10.
Knights drop 103 points on Union
The Union Bobcats boys basketball team ran into the defending 2A state champion Columbia Christian Knights, and saw the season end on the short end of a 103-36 blowout road loss Friday in the first round of the state playoffs.
CC jumped out to a 25-11 lead after one quarter and followed with 31 second-quarter points to take a 56-20 lead at the break and roll to the win, its 17th in a row.
Keegan Glenn scored nine points to lead Union. D.J. Coon added eight points, and both Tate Lantis and Gannon Carreiro had seven points.
The Bobcats, who were back in the playoffs for the first time since 2017 — when they were also eliminated by the Knights — finished with an overall record of 16-9.