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HRV girls buck Broncos for first MHC win

The HRV girls basketball team has been in search of continuity ever since its season-opening win over The Dalles on Nov. 27.

Breaking the press, limiting errant passes and making shots in the paint will all be imperatives if this team hopes to remain in contention for one of four conference playoff berths.

Starting 0-2 in the Mt. Hood meant the Eagles would have to improve in all three categories Friday versus Parkrose or risk virtual elimination. And the girls responded in convincing fashion, beating the Broncos 54-43 at HRVHS.

“We’ve been steadily improving and it was important for us to get a win,” coach Tracy Norton said. “We did a better job of breaking the press and reading the defense, which led to more easy baskets.”

Lindsay Benjamin poured in 17 points to lead the Eagles (2-5), while holding down the point- guard duties in place of Becca Meierbachtol, who missed the game due to illness. Benjamin also had five assists on the night.

Center Meghan Merz scored a season-high 15 and was very active on the boards on both ends, collecting a team-high nine rebounds. She was also the beneficiary of numerous skillful passes in the lane from Benjamin and Becki Flory.

Flory put together a solid all-around game and was the unofficial defensive player of the game. In addition to scoring six points, grabbing five boards and delivering two assists, Flory provided the defensive highlight with two key steals right before halftime — the second which led to a Benjamin layup with four seconds left to give HRV a 26-12 lead heading into the locker room.

The Eagles continued to dominate in the third quarter, using their height advantage and superior team defense to corral the Bronco attack. Forward Mickie Halliday continued to play strong inside, earning countless jump balls to go along with six points.

Halliday’s post mates, Meghan Stintzi (4 pts., 4 reb.), Lesley Betts (5 reb.) and Brittany Reed (2 pts., 3 reb., 2 steals), all contributed to the Eagles’ third-quarter run, which saw the team go up by as many as 19 points.

However, despite the Eagles’ dominating second-half effort, the Broncos were able to cut the lead to 11 late in the fourth quarter. But Merz and Halliday’s strong play on the offensive boards and a crucial steal by Lindsey Sanguras thwarted the comeback attempt.

The Eagles played at Centennial Tuesday but results were not available at press time.

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