Third quarter surge not enough to get Eagles by Reynolds

January 7, 2012

A furious rally in the second half was not enough for the Hood River Valley girls basketball team to overcome a sloppy first and the Eagles fell to Reynolds 59-53 in their non-league finale Wednesday night.

Coming out of the halftime break down 17 points, HRV (0-0, 7-4) got rolling in the opening minutes of the third and used a 17-6 run in the third quarter to cut the gap to six heading into the fourth.

After scrambling into comeback mode in the third quarter, the Eagles began to tire in the fourth. Elle Stanfill built the Raiders' (0-0, 7-4) lead to nine with a three-pointer in the opening seconds of the period, and the Eagles could never get the margin below five points the rest of the way.

Megan Winans had a big game for the Eagles, leading all scorers with 17 points while grabbing 14 rebounds, 10 of them on the offensive end.

Kenzie Yoshimura had 10 points and three steals for HRV.

The Eagles tired legs were apparent with numerous missed shots and struggles from the free-throw line, where the Eagles went just 3-for-9 in the quarter and 13-for-27 in the game.

The Eagles struggled from the floor all night, shooting 31-percent. Those struggles gave them a deep hole to climb out of at halftime, as Reynolds shot the lights out in the first half, particularly beyond the three-point arc.

"If we'd made our chip shots in the first quarter we would have been up eight," said HRV coach Tom Ames.

The Raiders hit six three-pointers in the first half, including two each from Stanfill and Emily Tipsord.

Stanfill and Jayden Blaylock led Reynolds with 14 points each while Lydia Strong had 13 points and eight rebounds.

The biggest blows came just before halftime. Two steals and lay-ups by Yoshimura and a short jumper by Danae Burck pulled the Eagles to within 10 with 3:25 to play. However, Reynolds then outscored HRV 11-2 in the closing minutes of the half. Stanfield hit a three-pointer to extend the lead to 16 with just under two minutes to go, and Strong scored on a lay-up off a steal with eight seconds left.

With three seconds left, Logan Bailey went to the foul line and hit a pair of free throws, but the Eagles forgot to get back on defense, and Stanfill fired a baseball pass the length of the court to Strong for a lay-up at the buzzer for a 40-23 halftime lead.

Ames said the breakdown in the defense came after the Eagles got a few turnovers and then tried to cheat up and get more steals.

"Originally we were not going for steals," he said. "We just wanted to slow them down and make them play half-court."

After chipping away at the lead in the third quarter, the Eagles tried for one last push in the closing minutes. Playing without any team fouls heading into the final three minutes, the Eagles quickly began racking them up, and forced several turnovers along the way. Up seven with 1:25 left, the Raiders were called for an offensive foul. However, the Eagles turned the ball over on their end, allowing the Raiders to kill precious seconds off the clock.

Winans got an and-one on a lay-up with 30 seconds left and converted the three-point play to pull HRV within six, but the Eagles were unable to get the ball back until the final few seconds of the game and could not get any closer.

"They were just tired," Ames said of his team, but was not sure why. "We could go three minutes of great basketball and then we would see a different team out there."

The loss closed out an up-and-down non-league schedule for HRV.

After scoring just 21 points in a loss to David Douglas Dec. 6, the Eagles won four straight, and after a narrow loss to Centennial, won their first two games at the Gresham Holiday Tournament before being blown out by Union of Vancouver, Wash., in the tournament championship.

The Eagles' schedule does not get any easier from here on out as they opened league play at pre-season league favorite Hermiston Friday. The Bulldogs went 7-5 in non-league, and like HRV are coming off two straight losses heading into league play.

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