By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
January 6, 2007
Too many turnovers.
A 46-42 defeat for the Hood River Valley girls’ basketball team Wednesday at the hands of the Gresham Gophers could be boiled down to that one stat after the Eagles turned the ball over on all but two possessions in the fourth quarter.
“We just had turnover after turnover,” Hood River guard Meagan Clark said. “We need to not panic and actually do something with (the ball).”
Lauren Hagar had 12 points to lead the Gophers, while Hood River’s Meredith Danko led all scorers with 22 points, but it was Gresham’s defense that proved to be the difference.
Neither side played particularly well, and Gresham had its own spell of turnover problems, but the pressure of the Gophers trapping defense finally got to the Eagles in the final quarter.
“They were aggressive and attacked our weaknesses,” Hood River Coach Phil Hukari said.
Hood River seemed to have control of the game early, building a 13-7 lead at the first quarter before Gresham rallied thanks to Eagle turnovers to take a one point lead at the half.
Both sides consistently turned the ball over in the third quarter, but Hood River was able to come out of the period with a two point lead as the Gophers missed several breakaway lay-ins after stealing the ball.
That set the stage for a frustrating four-point fourth quarter for the Eagles in which they would not score until over five minutes had already gone by.
“We were tired and we had a lot of turnovers,” was how Clark summed up the final frame the Eagles.
Nonetheless, the Gresham’s poor shooting allowed the Eagles to stay in the game right up until a three pointer fell short at the buzzer.
“Hood River did enough to win,” Gresham coach Brian Hill said. “It just didn’t happen for them tonight.”
The Eagles now look to get back on track as post-Winter vacation play gets into full swing, and Hukari expects his squad to take better care of the ball as the season rolls along.
“We’ll get better at (handling pressure) as the year goes on,” he said. “Its just something they have to learn how to handle.”