They had it in the bag. But, for some reason, the HRV girls’ first win of the season just didn’t want to stay in the bag.
Hosting St. Helens in the annual Hood River Invitational on Friday, the Eagles did everything right for nearly three quarters. Then, the wheels simply came off.
With two minutes remaining in the third and the Eagles up 36-26, St. Helens went on a 25-4 run to finish the game, sending HRV to its third loss in three games.
But this one — a 51-40 defeat— was the most difficult to stomach.
“We just need to learn how to win games,” senior post Brittany Reed said. “We have the ability to beat these teams, but we need to correct the mental mistakes and finish better.”
Coach Tracy Norton agreed.
“We had the lead and all we had to do was play a control game on offense and not allow second shots on defense,” she said. “Instead of continuing to do the things we did to get us the lead, we played ‘not to lose,’ instead of ‘playing to win.’”
Two additional factors in the loss were foul trouble and poor free-throw shooting. Four Eagles fouled out, and not one of their freebies found the net in the fourth quarter.
Senior Becki Flory led the team in scoring with eight, and was followed by Suni Davis with seven and Stefanie Draper with six.
Flory also led the Eagles in Saturday’s match-up with Putnam, scoring 18 points in the 46-38 loss. She added a team-high 11 rebounds.
“This game was better in the sense that we made fewer turnovers and executed better on the offensive end,” Norton said.
“The problem is that we are still not shooting well.”
The girls will look to improve on their shooting percentage of 24 percent on Thursday when they travel to face former conference rival Gresham.