January 28, 2006
The Hood River Valley varsity girls took on Intermountain Conference top-dogs, the Hermiston Bulldogs, at home Tuesday night. After breaking out to a 16-13 lead in the first quarter, the Eagles went on a mid-game slump to get outscored 43 points to 23 in the second and third quarters. The Eagles won the fourth 12-10, but the damage was done and the Bulldogs walked out with a 66-51 victory to better their league record to 9-1.
The girls came out hot, with senior Chelsey Elliott taking the lead with nine points in the first quarter alone. Elliott would end in her best offensive showing of the season with a game-high 29 points, which was 16 points more than the two top scorers from Hermiston. Keeping the Bulldogs at bay was the Eagles’ defense, which did a good job of slowing two of the opposition’s top scorers and keeping them from establishing an offensive rhythm.
The game flip-flopped in the second quarter and Hermiston outscored the girls by 13 points to take a 10-point lead at halftime.
“The wheels came off,” Coach Phil Hukari commented. “The Bulldogs’ three-quarter-court pressing defense forced us out of executing our offense and the girls went on a five-minute scoring draught in the second period.”
The Eagles fought back after half time, with Brianne Rowley, Meredith Danko and Rochelle Friend coming off the bench to spark their defense in the half. With every comeback chance the Hood River made, Hermiston answered with buckets of their own, forcing the Eagles into a game of catch up for the last two quarters.
“Except for our turnover-filled second quarter, the girls played aggressive and executed well. Hermiston is one of the best teams in the league at the moment, and we exchanged blows and played fairly even through most of the game,” Hukari said. “We have a huge game at Summit on Saturday. It is important to establish that we can win on the road so if we want to have a positive season, this could be the big game of the year.”