Crook County whips Hood River, face The Dalles in league playoff
The Crook County Cowgirls played their best offensive game of the year on Monday as they defeated Hood River Valley 58-45 on the road.
"The girls did a nice job," head coach Heidi Lea said following the game. "We played at the same time as the JV, so we only played with eight girls, and they kept themselves out of foul trouble."
In addition to not having several players available who normally swing between varsity and JV, senior forward McKinzee Mode was unable to make the trip.
Lea noted that Mode is their defensive stopper and that without her in the lineup, at times the team's defensive effort was not up to par.
"She's our spark plug on defense," Lea said. "We played a little bit lackadaisical on defense in the first half, but the second half we turned it around."
The game, which did not count in the league standings, was the second consecutive victory by the Cowgirls over the Eagles.
However, this time was different. In the game at home earlier in the season, the two teams played evenly for most of the contest with the Cowgirls barely pulling the game out late in the fourth quarter.
This time, the Cowgirls led from the beginning.
The Cowgirls took a 14-9 lead at the end of one period and led 27-16 at the half.
Both teams opened up their offensive attacks in the second half as the Cowgirls outscored the Eagles 17-12 in the third quarter to open up an insurmountable 44-28 lead.
Hood River Valley outscored the Cowgirls 17-14 in the final period, but by then, the game was no longer in doubt as the Cowgirls cruised to the road victory.
"The girls were able to stay out of foul trouble, and we did a better job of taking care of the ball," Lea said. "I think that we only had 17 turnovers, which was much better than what we have had. We took better care of the ball and didn't force things."
Liz Barker led Crook County in scoring with 21 points, while Teagan Freeman also had a strong offensive game, pitching in with 15 points.
Barker did all of her damage inside, pounding the offensive glass and earning repeated trips to the foul line.
"She got the ball down low and made things happen," Lea said.
While Barker controlled the paint, Freeman did her scoring from long range, nailing five three-point shots in the contest.
Josie Kasberger and Dallas Hutchins each added five points for the Cowgirls, who won just their third game of the season.
Bailey Frazier led Hood River Valley in scoring with 13, while Haylee Baker and Kaitlyn McNerney each scored 10 for the Eagles.
The Cowgirls are now 3-16 on the year and officially are 2-5 in league play, while Hood River Valley fell to 0-7 in the Intermountain Conference and 2-19 overall.
However, due to bad weather forcing school closures in the Columbia River Gorge during the past week, several league games had to be rescheduled and eventually canceled.
The league season was supposed to end on Friday. Instead, with The Dalles, Pendleton and Hood River Valley all behind on their league schedules, the league's athletic directors took the drastic action of canceling the second half of the league season and instead having a league playoff.
As a result, Monday's game, which was originally scheduled for Friday, did not count in the official league standings. Instead, it was a tune-up for the league playoff, which officially started on Thursday.
Crook County is the fifth seed for the playoffs and faced The Dalles at The Dalles last night.
The winner advanced to the tournament semifinals while the loser fell to the consolation round.
Saturday night, the league was scheduled to play the semifinals, with Redmond and Ridgeview, who earned byes in the first round, hosting games.
Then Monday, the losers from the semifinal matchups will host the losers of the opening-round games.
The league tournament will conclude Tuesday evening with the two semifinal winners playing for the league's first and second seeds into the playoffs, while the winners of Monday's consolation rounds will play to determine the league's third-place team, which will also represent the Intermountain Conference in the state tournament.
"I hope tonight gave us some momentum heading into the tournament," Lea said. "To go in with a win is a lot better than getting blown out. I think that the girls are excited and heh, it's anybody's game. With a league playoff, it doesn't matter what happened before. It's just what's happening on Thursday."
Should Crook County get past The Dalles, they will play at Redmond on Saturday. If they lose to The Dalles, then on Monday they are scheduled to play at either Pendleton or Ridgeview.
The one monkey wrench in the league playoff schedule is that more snow is in the forecast. As a result, it is possible that game dates might have to be changed in order to get games in.
For up-to-date information about changes in the schedule, go to either OSAA.org and click on girls basketball, then schedules and scores or go to the Crook County High School website at cchs.crookcounty.k12.or.us/ and click on athletics and then the athletic calendar.
Crook County 58, Hood River Valley 45
Monday, February 18
At Hood River Valley
Crook County 14 13 17 14 — 58
Hood River Valley 9 7 12 17 — 45
Crook County – Liz Barker 21, Teagan Freeman 17, Guthrie 6, Kasberger 5, Hutchins 5, Woodward 2, Ptomey 2. Totals: 23 9-19 58.
Hood River Valley – Bailey Frazier 13, H. Baker 10, McNerney 10, M. Baker 5, Routsen 3, Valle 2, Newton 2, Hughes, Luldein. Totals: 11 12-19 45.
Three-point goals – Crook County: Freeman 5. Hood River Valley: McNerney 2, Frazier 2, M. Baker.