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Buckaroos slowly pull away as they take a 51-27 home victory over Crook County, dropping the Cowgirls to 0-2 in Intermountain Conference play and 2-11 overall

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Taylor Joyce goes to the basket during a home game earlier this year. Joyce, a freshman, is earning more playing time as the season goes on. Joyce scored a point on Friday at Pendleton. The Pendleton Buckaroos led from the start as they rolled to a 51-27 home victory over the Crook County Cowgirls Friday night in Intermountain Conference basketball action.

"The first half wasn't bad," said Crook County head coach Heidi Lea. "We were only down by 10, but we came out in the third quarter and had a couple of shots that we didn't take advantage of on the offensive end, and they hit a couple of threes and we just didn't respond."

The Buckaroos led 12-6 at the end of the first period and 24-14 at the half.

Pendleton scored the first six points of the third quarter as they sprinted out to a 30-14 lead, putting the game away.

The Cowgirls tried to respond but could never get closer than 15 points.

"All of a sudden it was a 17-point ball game," Lea said. "The Pendleton boys started getting on our girls and we went through a little period in the third quarter where we were a little fragmented, and we just let it spin out of control."

Pendleton continued to expand their lead the remainder of the contest as they led 38-21 at the end of the third period and then outscored the Cowgirls 13-6 in the final stanza, despite going heavily to the bench.

As has happened for most of the season, the Cowgirls once again were able to outrebound their opponent. Crook County finished with 42 rebounds, compared to just 31 for Pendleton.

Liz Barker led all rebounders with 11 boards, while Dallas Hutchins and Josie Kasberger each pulled down eight boards for the Cowgirls.

Pendleton was led by Daisy Jenness, who snared nine boards.

However, the Cowgirls turned the ball over 30 times compared to just 16 turnovers for the Buckaroos, leading to some easy baskets for Pendleton.

In addition, Crook County missed a series of free throws that could have helped to keep the game close.

"We did some things well," Lea said. "I think we were executing. We ran some plays and got some shots down close to the basket. We just didn't finish. And free throws haunted us again. We got to the line a few times and didn't finish free throws, so there were things that we could have done so that we would have had a different result and had a 10-point game instead of a 20-point game."

The Cowgirls hit just eight of 22 from the free throw line, for 23% shooting. They were even colder from the floor, hitting just 17% of their shots in the game, while the Buckaroos shot 31% from the floor.

"They hit some shots when they needed to a couple of times that were just killer," Lea said. "We kind of let it run. We have a tendency to do that sometimes, letting little runs turn into a big run. They knock down a couple of shots and you don't respond, and all of a sudden, it's a 17-point game. We just didn't react as well tonight."

Pendleton's Muriel Hoisington was the lone player in double figures in the game with 12, while Jenness and Chloe Taber each scored nine. Carissa Cooley chipped in with eight points for the Buckaroos.

Barker and Kasberger led Crook County with nine points apiece. However, after that, no Cowgirl scored more than four points in the contest.

With the loss, the Cowgirls fell to 2-11 overall and 0-2 in conference play, while the Buckaroos improved to 1-0 in the IMC and 9-4 overall.

More importantly, the Buckaroos are getting hot at just the right time. After starting the season with an 0-3 record, Pendleton has won nine of their last 10 games, including a five-game winning streak that includes victories over Roseburg, La Grande, Scappoose, Rex Putnam and Crook County.

Meanwhile, the Cowgirls have lost their last four contests and are in danger of slipping out of contention for one of the three IMC playoff berths.

Things don't get any easier for the Cowgirls this week as the team travels to Redmond on Friday to take on the league-leading Ridgeview Ravens.

Like Pendleton, Ridgeview got off to a slow start early in the season. However, the Ravens have won seven of their last eight games to improve their record to 10-6. The Ravens are currently 2-0 on conference play and are leading the league in scoring, averaging nearly 50 points a contest.

The Ravens' offense has been even hotter in league play as they are averaging more than 60 points a game in their two league wins.

Friday's game is part of a double header with the Cowboys with the girls game scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m. and the boys game to follow at approximately 7:45 p.m.

Pendleton 51, Crook County 27

Friday, January 24

At Pendleton

Crook County 6 8 7 6 — 27

Pendleton 12 12 14 13 — 51

Crook County (27) — Liz Barker 9, Josie Kasberger 9, Brooks 4, Freeman 3, Hutchins 1, Joyce 1, Woodward, Papke, Nguyen, Jonas. Totals: 9 8-22 27.

Pendleton (51) — Muriel Hoisington 12, Jenness 9, Taber 9, Cooley 8, Lee 5, Spriet 4, Neveau 4, Samp, Wilson, Youncs. Totals: 18 11-22 51.

Three-point goals — Crook County: Freeman. Pendleton: Lee, Cooley, Taber, Hoisington.

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