For the first of their 5A play-in game Friday night, there seemed to be nothing the Parkrose Broncos could do to stop the Hood River Valley girls basketball team from going to the state play-offs.
The Broncos went nearly a full quarter without scoring, and saw the Eagles use a 13-0 run to seemingly take command of the game.
But then the Broncos figured out the answer: Grab every rebound in sight. That combined with the Eagles going cold with their shooting in the second half allowed the Broncos to rally from a 13-point deficit and knock off HRV 54-42 in Parkrose to advance to the state playoffs.
Neither team brought a reputation for being particularly disciplined with the basketball into the game, and both hoped to negate their turnovers with different factors. For Parkrose it was their physicality and speed and HRV its shooting ability.
The strategy worked for HRV in the first, when they shot 50-percent from the field, but not in the second, when they made only five baskets from the field.
The difference in the second half was second-chance baskets. The Eagles had nine offensive rebounds in the half, but could not get any of the shots to go down. However, Parkrose grabbed 22 rebounds in the second half, 39 in the game, and 13 of their second-half rebounds where on the offensive end, where they converted many of them into points, either from second- or third-chance baskets or from free throws.
"We just didn't make shots," said HRV coach Tom Ames. "You have to make shots in big games.
"Emili was as good as she's ever been tonight," Ames said in praise of the senior forward.
Jaycee Jointer led Parkrose with 18 points. Emili Metivier had a fantastic final game in an Eagle uniform and led HRV with 11 points.
The Parkrose gym was deathly silent for most of the first half as the Eagles built a 22-9 lead, using a 13-0 run spanning the first and second quarters. The Broncos were held scoreless until 2:15 remained in the half, but once they got going, it was hard for HRV to stop them. The Broncos outscored HRV 9-5 over the final 2:15 of the half and then outscored HRV 27-15 in the second half.
The Broncos dominated the Eagles on the boards, collecting 40 rebounds to HRV's 25. Many of those rebounds came on the offensive end, giving Parkrose second - and many times third - chances to either score or draw a foul.
After Parkrose came out aggressive in the second half, the Eagles appeared to regain their confidence and momentum after Parkrose coach Da'Love Woods received a technical foul arguing a call with three minutes left in the third. Natalya Ames hit both free throws and the Eagles were able to take a six-point lead into the final quarter.
But then everything fell apart for HRV. A Sydnee Ennes three-pointer tied the game with 6:30 to play. They eventually took the lead on a put back by Audrey Frison to go up 40-40.
The Eagles eventually tied it up at 42-42 on a pair of Bailey free throws with 1:54 to play, but while they had several more opportunities, they could not score again.
They missed several put-backs on a chance to go ahead after Parkrose hit a free throw.
With Parkrose in the double bonus, Jaycee Joyner calmly hit two free throws for a three-point Parkrose lead with 12 seconds left. The Eagles turned the ball over on the subsequent inbounds play, but Frison missed both free throws with a chance to seal the game.
The Eagles hurried the ball up the floor for a chance to tie, but a Logan Bailey three rimmed short off the buzzer as time expired.
While Parkrose moves on to face No. 1 overall Springfield in the first round of the state playoffs, the Eagles wrap up their year with a 9-15 overall record and 2-10 in league, including six straight losses to end the season.
Ames said he was proud of his team's lack of turnovers against Parkrose and the Eagles would build on that in the offseason.
"It'll just mean kids putting some time this summer," he said.