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Foul trouble, lack of depth, cost Eagle/Loggers in loss to Sherman County Huskies

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Alayna Denney is fouled on her way to the basket Saturday against Sherman County. Denney finished with six points as the Eagle/Loggers fell to the Huskies.Struggling to win their first game of the season, the Mitchell/Spray Eagle/Loggers hung with the Sherman County Huskies for most of the first half Saturday in Mitchell.

However, as has happened so often this season, the Eagle/Loggers got into early foul trouble and were unable to keep the momentum going as they fell 55-30 to the Huskies.

"The girls always play hard," Mitchell/Spray head coach Garey Fischer said. "We just don't have the depth, and we don't have a lot of experience out there."

With a slow start, the Eagle/Loggers fell behind 13-3 with 4:13 remaining in the first quarter.

However, Mitchell/Spray went into a full-court press and battled their way back into the game.

The Eagle/Loggers still trailed 13-5 at the end of the quarter before staging a furious rally.

When Allie Smith sank the second of two free throws with 5:36 left in the second quarter, the Eagle/Loggers were within three points at 13-10.

However, that was as close as they would get.

On the ensuing possession, Mitchell/Spray point guard Alayna Denney picked up her third foul.

"Alayna plays extremely hard all the time and she is very competitive, but sometimes she just needs to see a bit more of the floor," Fischer said.

Freshman Gabby Boehlke picked up some of the offensive slack, but with Denney forced to sit on the bench the remainder of the first half, the Huskies extended their lead to 27-20.

Pulling Denney out of the lineup was the lone substitution that the Eagle/Loggers made in the entire first half.

With all five starters back on the court, Mitchell/Spray tried to come back in the third quarter, getting to within five points on multiple occasions.

However, eventually both Denney and Boehlke went to the bench in foul trouble, and Sherman County took advantage, rolling out to a big lead.

The Huskies led 42-25 at the end of three quarters and continued to extend their lead the remainder of the contest.

Boehlke led the Eagle/Loggers in scoring with 10, while Smith, Alayna Denney and her sister Callie each had six. Sherman County was led by Natalie Martin with 15, while Jacelyn Justesen and Daisy Brown were also in double figures with 10 points apiece.

Smith and Maria Rey each pulled down seven rebounds for the Eagle/Loggers, who were outrebounded 52-24 in the contest.

The Mitchell/Spray defense forced Sherman County into 36 turnovers, but the Eagle/Loggers made 38 turnovers of their own.

"There is definitely stuff that we need to work on, just passing the ball and staying calm under pressure," Smith said. "But we are making a lot of progress. This is our highest-scoring game of the entire season. I think we are just growing leaps and bounds. I'm proud of all my girls and how they played."

"We were hoping this was a game that we could get a win," Fischer said. "Offensively, we had more scoring from different people, so that was good. The girls play with a ton of heart, and they don't ever give up. They play really hard; they just need several more years."

With the loss, the Eagle/Loggers fell to 0-13 overall and 0-8 in the Big Sky League, while Sherman County improved to 9-10 overall and 2-6 in league play. Mitchell/Spray is back in action Saturday when they go on the road to take on Ione/Arlington, 12-7, 7-3, in a 2 p.m. game.

Sherman County 55, Mitchell/Spray 30

Saturday, Feb. 1

At Mitchell

Sherman County 13 14 15 13 — 55

Mitchell/Spray 5 15 5 5 — 30

Sherman County (55) — Natalie Martin 15, Daisy Brown 10, Jacelyn Justesen 10, Allie Marker 8, Cali Johnson 8, Mercedez Cardona 4, Cadence Smith, Grace Poirier. Totals: 25 3-13 55.

Mitchell/Spray (30) — Gabby Boehlke 10, Allie Smith 6, Alayna Denney 6, Callie Denney 6, Maria Rey, Lisa Fominykh, Laura Sengebsch, Eleanor Brown, Yesenia Vargas. Totals: 9 8-20 30.

Three-point goals — Sherman County: Martin 2. Mitchell/Spray: C. Denney 2, Boehlke.

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