Rangers move to 2-2 in the Tri-Valley with a win over North Marion

by: ESTACADA NEWS: PARKER LEE - Estacadas Kristen Kiser runs the offense from near halfcourt during the teams 60-51 win over North Marion.Estacada girls’ basketball coach Mike Pomerenke let out a short sigh of relief as time expired last week finalizing a 60-51 win for the Rangers over North Marion. He followed up his sigh by shooting a slight grin at North Marion coach Dennis Melcher.

“Dennis’ teams are going to wear you down,” Pomerenke said. “He is always going give you a dogfight and make you earn it, and that is what I love about playing him.”

Pomerenke and Melcher coached together at Molalla some 15 years ago and have been close ever since, so the victory was a little sweeter for the Estacada head man. Melcher and his crew didn’t make it easy on the Rangers, though.

The contest was a roller coaster in the first half with both teams going on extended scoring runs. On the final play of the half, Estacada’s Emma Kirchhofer was fouled on a buzzer-beater attempt 40 feet from the hoop, giving her three foul shots. She hit two of the three to give the Rangers a 25-24 lead at the break.

As soon as play resumed in the third quarter, Estacada took the Huskies by storm. The Rangers swarmed North Marion defensively and coaxed some quick turnovers which led to easy hoops in transition. The fast breaks brought Estacada post Tori Johnson’s offensive game to life. She scored from the paint on the Rangers’ first four possessions of the second half to fuel a 10-2 run that put them up by nine points.

“I kept it simple at halftime and just told them to keep playing hard,” Pomerenke said. “I told everyone to go out and beat them up because I knew they were going to come at us.”

North Marion honed in on Johnson after that, but failed to keep a bead on Estacada guard Jessie Hunt. Hunt got two open looks from beyond the arc late in the third quarter and she connected for 3-pointers both times. She scored the team’s last eight points of the period and gave Estacada a 10-point lead going into the fourth.

The Huskies resorted to a press defense in the final period and created some extra scoring opportunities for themselves early. North Marion’s Kelsie Henry hit a pair of treys after turnovers to close the gap to six points with four minutes left. In the final four minutes, Kristen Kiser stepped up for Estacada and made seven of eight free-throw attempts to push the Huskies back down.

Kiser was one of four Rangers to score at least seven points. Johnson led the way with 18 points. Hunt followed with 14 points and Maddi Thompson had 11.

“It’s going to be a war when we play at their place, I know that for sure,” Pomerenke said.

Estacada stumbled against class 4A’s No. 2 team, La Salle, on Friday in a 73-32 decision. The Rangers played at Madras on Tuesday and will travel to Molalla next Tuesday.

View an online photo gallery from the game at

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