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Cowgirls outrebound the Riverhawks, but turnvers and poor free throw shooting prove costly as Crook County loses close game

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Grace Brooks goes to the basket for two of her team-high 10 points in the Cowgirls' game against The Dalles Riverhawks Friday night. The Cowgirls lost 47-45.The Crook County Cowgirls suffered a heartbreaking loss Friday night in their Intermountain Conference opener.

The homestanding Cowgirls battled to the end against the visiting The Dalles Riverhawks but fell just short as the Riverhawks took a 47-45 win.

"That was a lot better than any of the games we played in our preseason," said Crook County guard Teagan Freeman. "This is when we finally clicked, and we found out who we can finally be as a team."

Crook County took an early lead on a pair of baskets by Grace Brooks. However, the Riverhawks came storming back scoring to take a 9-4 lead.

A pair of free throws and a basket by Liz Barker pulled Crook County to within a point at 8-9 before Pearl Guzman hit one of two free throws late in the quarter to give The Dalles a 10-8 lead heading into the second quarter.

The two teams traded baskets the entire second quarter with neither team holding more than a two-point lead and headed to the locker room at the half tied 17-17.

Both teams came out on fire in the third quarter, knocking down a series of long-range shots.

Just two minutes into the half the score was knotted again at 27-27. However, The Dalles upped their defensive pressure and the Cowgirls committed a series of turnovers as the Riverhawks opened up a 37-29 lead.

The Cowgirls made a surge late in the quarter cling to within six at 39-33 on a Freeman three-pointer.

"The girls came out and played hard and they did well," Crook County head coach Heidi Lea said. "We just had that little lapse in the third quarter where we made some turnovers, we made some turnovers there in the third quarter that allowed them some easy baskets and allowed them to open the game up."

Crook County took better care of the ball in the fourth quarter and slowly fought their way back into the game. Still, the Cowgirls committed 26 turnovers on the night compared to 18 for the Riverhawks. That coupled with just 4-13 shooting from the free throw line proved to be costly for the Cowgirls.

When Dallas Hutchins made a three-pointer with just under 30 seconds to play Crook County was back to within four at 43-47.

However, the Cowgirls allowed The Dalles to run nearly 20 seconds off the clock before they were finally able to foul to stop the clock.

"it was good to see them battle and not let The Dalles extend the lead, because early in the season we would dig a hole and it wouldn't get better," Lea said. "Typically, at the end of a game we are down, and we just play defense. We don't have to do that thing where we are desperate to get the ball and foul, so we let 20 seconds run off the clock before we finally fouled."

Rainey Codding missed both her free throws and Crook County got the rebound and quickly pushed the ball up the court with Josie Kasberger hitting a two-pointer at the buzzer to make the final score 47-45.

" I'm proud of our girls," Lea said. "We were down by 11 at one point and I told the girls that it was good to see them battle and not let The Dalles extend the lead."

Brooks led a balanced Cowgirl attack with 10 points, while Barker added nine, Hutchins seven, and Freeman six. Kasberger and Lauren Papke also had solid offensive games with five points apiece.

"I felt like we played really well compared to what we have been doing," Brooks said. "We definitely pulled together and played as a team. And our comeback, that was amazing. The bench energy and the court energy was really good and that helped a lot."

Freeman agreed that coming back and making the game close was big for the Cowgirls.

"They were a very hard-working team, but I was very proud of how well we did no matter what," she said. "I feel like a lot more people are finally getting comfortable with shooting and being able to take shots that they have been afraid of in the past."

Kilee Hoylman led the Riverhawks with 15, while Jenna Miller was also in double figures with 13 and Lauryn Belanger pitched in with nine.

Barker led all players in rebounds with 10 while Brooks had nine and Kasberger eight. As a team the Cowgirls pulled down 37 rebounds to just 23 for the Riverhawks, who were led by Codding with nine boards.

With the loss Crook County fell to 2-10 overall and 0-1 in Intermountain conference play while The Dalles improved to 7-8 overall and 1-0 in league.

The Cowgirls don't play again until Friday, Jan. 24, when they go on the road to take on the Pendleton Buckaroos.

The Dalles 47, Crook County 45 At Crook County The Dalles 10 7 22 8 – 47 Crook County 8 9 16 12 – 45 The Dalles (47) – Kilee Hoylman 15, Miller 13, Belanger 9, Codding 5, Iagualo 4, Guzman 1, Schatz, Decker. Totals: 18 6-15 47. Crook County (45) – Grace Brooks 10, Barker 9, Hutchins 7, Freeman 6, Kasberger 5, Papke 5, Woodward 3, Joyce, Nguyen. Totals: 18 4-13 45. Three-point goals – The Dalles: Miller 3, Holyman 2. Crook County: Freeman 2, Woodward, Papke, Hutchins.

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