January 4, 2006
After a suspenseful two-point win last week over Putnam, the Hood River Valley High School varsity girls’ basketball team took on the Madison Senators Friday night, in a home game that would end in little suspense. The Eagles built an early lead in the first quarter and gave Madison little chance to make a comeback. By the end of the fourth, Hood River distanced themselves by 23 points for a 64-41 victory.
The Senators took charge in the opening minutes of the game, building a lead off a three-pointer, a steal and an easy lay-in for a 5-0 run. Meredith Danko and Chelsey Elliott made back-to-back shots for Hood River. Madison fired back with another 3-pointer, another steal and two more points for a 10-4 lead.
“We came out very flat and lacked energy, which probably stems from watching a big blow out (win) in the JV game,” Coach Phil Hukari commented. “But Chelsey Elliott finally got the looks she needed and was explosive going to the basket. Brianne Rowley sparked the team when she entered the game midway through the first quarter with some steals and aggressive rebounding and Meredith Danko played excellent in the second quarter to get the team going.”
The early run was all the Madison girls had in them, and by the end of the first quarter the Eagles led 16-10 off a 12-0 scoring streak sparked by two buckets in a row from Danko to take the team’s first lead of the game.
The Senators’ break-down started in early in the second quarter, with lack of conditioning a disadvantage to the Madison girls. By the end of the first half the Eagles were 15 points up and showing no signs of tiring.
“We attacked the basket better than any game this year,” Hukari said. “Our defense was a little suspect at times but overall I was very pleased with our effort after the first few minutes.”
Madison’s main shooter, number 22, finished with 5 three-pointers, two of which she hit early in the second half. A comeback was not likely, however, and the Eagles finished 20 points ahead going into the final quarter.
Outscored again in the fourth, Madison’s coach and bench was frustrated and ready to board their bus for home. They kept fighting, however, and managed 10 points to Hood River’s 13 for the closest quarter of the game.
Despite somewhat of a blowout victory, the girls have a lot to work on in practice to prepare for their January schedule, which is the formative start to league action.
Hood River was weak in one very important area of the game. They struggled with turnovers and missed opportunities. If they had the same amount of traveling calls, poor passes and missed lay-ups and free-throws against a better opponent, the Eagles would have been their own demise.
With their two recent wins, the Eagles have made a solid start to the season. At 5-3 overall, they have already picked up more wins than they did all of last season (3-20 overall).
The girls go to on the road this week, traveling to Pendleton on Tuesday and to The Dalles on Thursday. They will return home on Dec. 13 to face Summit High School (JV starts at 5:15 p.m., varsity at 7 p.m.).
Highlights vs. Madison:
Chelsey Elliott 21 points, Meredith Danko 13 points, Abby Walters 10 points, Jamie Abbott 5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, Brianne Rowldy 8 rebounds and 2 steals, Mariah Herman 4 assists.