Crook County leads for most of first half, but is unable to maintain momentum in loss to Rangers

PHOTO COURTESTY OF DAVID BALL/GRESHAM OUTLOOK - Crook County's Emma Ackley (25) and Sarah Connolly (21) defend Estacada's Karlye Nakashimada Tuesday night during the Cowgirls' 44-40 loss to the Rangers. Nakashimada scored seven points for Estacada while Ackley scored a team-high 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Cowgirls. The Crook County girls basketball team traded punches with Estacada most of the way but couldn't answer a late flurry that put the Cowgirls on the ropes in a 44-40 loss Tuesday night.

After trading the lead six times earlier in the game, the Rangers scored on five straight possessions to start the fourth quarter.

Izzy Hagel sank a jumper, M.J. Jennings scored on a put-back from the block, and Susan Kiser put on a hesitation move before driving past her defender for a layup.

Six points in barely a minute, and the Cowgirls called timeout to regroup.

"It was a matter of us settling down and not getting frazzled," Hagel said.

Kiser kept it going coming out of the break when she drove the baseline and sent a bounce pass behind the basket across to Jennings for two points. The scoring spree finished with Kiser whipping a pass through traffic that found Jennings cutting in for a layup and a 39-30 lead.

"We let them get a couple easy buckets, and it went from a one-point game to us being down nine," Cowgirls' coach Heidi Lea said.

Hagel knocked down a jumper from the elbow to put the Rangers up eight with 1:30 to play. But Crook County's Emma Ackley hit three straight free throws, then converted a turnover into a layup to make it a one-possession game in the final minute.

Estacada missed the front end of a one-and-one chance at the stripe to give Crook County a chance to pull even. But a 3-pointer from the top of the arc was off target and came off the side of the rim.

Estacada grabbed the rebound, and Kiser hit a free throw to seal the victory.

Crook County found itself up 8-5 in the early going when two Rangers fell to the floor, and the Cowgirls' Grace Kasberger scooped up the loose ball and went the other way for a layup.

Crook County would hold a slim lead through most of the first half, maintaining its edge when Sarah Connolly slapped on a backcourt trap near the sideline. She swiped the ball loose and got it back near the free-throw line where she swished a jumper for a 14-12 lead.

"We did a nice job putting pressure on Estacada and that seemed to frustrate them early on," Lea said. "They broke it a few times, but we were able to force a lot of turnovers."

Estacada regained a one-point lead by halftime, but Kasberger prevented the margin from growing when she closed out on a shooter and blocked a Rangers' 3-point try at the horn.

Crook County regained the lead 23-22 early in the third quarter after Ackley converted a three-point play, and Kennedy Buckner came up with a steal in the back court and hit a quick 12-footer.

Moments after being whistled for her third foul, Estacada's Karlye Nakashimada swiped a steal and scored to give the Rangers the lead for good 24-23 midway through the third.

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Estacada 44, Crook County 40

Tuesday, February 6

At Crook County

Crook County 10 8 10 12 — 40

Estacada 9 10 10 15 — 44

Crook County (40) — Emma Ackley 12, Barker 7, Kasberger 6, Connolly 4, Mode 4, Freeman 3, Tramel-Green 2, Buckner 2, Hutchins. Totals: 15 9-22 40.

Estacada (44) — Isabelle Hagel 15, Jennings 11, Nakashimada 7, Crombie 4, Kiser 3, Peterson 2, Porter 2, New, Canifax. Totals: 18 5-9 44.

Three-point goals — Crook County: Freeman. Estacada: Jennings, Crombie, Hagel.

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