Cowgirls end season with victory over Panthers
The Crook County Cowgirls survived early foul problems and a sluggish first quarter to roll past the Redmond Panthers 58-42 Tuesday night in Redmond.
"I think our bench did a great job," Crook County head coach Heidi Lea said. "Everybody knew what they were doing, and everybody contributed."
It was senior night for the Panthers, and they packed the grandstands.
Feeding off of the boisterous crowd, Redmond took an early lead.
When starting post Liz Barker picked up her second foul and went to the bench with 3:04 remaining in the first quarter, the Panthers held a 10-4 lead.
Barker did not return to the court in the first half, but the Cowgirls rallied. A 3-point shot by McCall Woodward closed Crook County to within a bucket at 11-9.
However, the Panthers hit a basket late in the quarter to extend their lead to 13-9 at the end of the first period.
Redmond pushed to 17-10 early in the second quarter, but that was the biggest lead they would get the entire game, as the Cowgirls slowly battled back.
A pair of baskets by Josie Kasberger late in the first half brought Crook County to within a point, 25-24, at the half.
The Cowgirls took their first lead of the game in the opening seconds of the second half as Barker grabbed a rebound and powered her way up for two to make the score 26-25.
However, moments later Barker picked up her third foul and once again went to the bench.
Eventually starters Teagan Freeman and Dallas Hutchins also got in foul trouble and joined Barker on the bench.
For much of the season, the Cowgirls have struggled to score with their starters on the bench. But not Tuesday night.
It didn't seem to matter who Crook County put in the game; the team continued to score, opening up a 37-30 lead by the end of the third quarter.
"At one point, we had Dallas, Liz and Teagan all on the bench, and I thought the kids stepped up and did what we needed to do, so that was huge," Lea said.
With the starters back on the floor for the fourth quarter, Crook County shifted its offense into high gear, scoring 21 points in the period to run away from the Panthers.
Still, Lea credited the defense of Lauren Papke for the victory. Papke came off the bench to guard Redmond's leading scorer Ellie Corwin for much of the game.
Corwin had scored 25 points when the two teams played in Prineville earlier in the season.
However, with Papke sticking to her like glue, Corwin scored just seven points on Tuesday.
"Papke came off the bench and did what we asked her to do against Corwin," Lea said. "She was frustrating Corwin, and Corwin even said that was a great box and one after the game."
Lea added that the team hadn't really played a box and one, but that she had told Papke not to help out on defense and just stick with Corwin.
"We told Lauren, 'Don't worry about helping defense. All you need to worry about is Corwin.' And she was tough on her," Lea said.
Despite foul trouble, Hutchins finished with 20 points in the game to lead the Cowgirls.
Woodward added seven points, all in the first quarter, while Kasberger and Freeman each finished with six.
Redmond was led by Skyla Gonzales with 22.
As has happened all season, Crook County outrebounded its opponent, pulling down 42 rebounds to 33 for the Panthers.
Kasberger grabbed eight boards, while Barker and Grace Brooks each pulled down six.
Gonzales led the Panthers with 14 boards to go along with her 22 points.
The game was a huge rebound from Friday night when the Cowgirls were blasted 67-34 by the league champion Ridgeview Ravens.
"We asked the girls before the game, 'Do you want to end the season like we did on Friday or like we did last Tuesday?'" Lea said. "And the girls said, 'Tuesday. We like that feeling much better.' We had an opportunity to play a team that was pretty even to us, and we stepped up and did what we needed to do."
"Our bench really stepped up," she said. "They really brought a whole new level to our game tonight. We can't pick our refs, so I think we played through our foul problems and used their fouls to our advantage. We just needed that win to boost our confidence for next year."
Lea was also excited about finishing the year with a win.
"It was awesome," she said. "The girls are excited. They know that next year there is high expectations because we've increased our level of play and it's getting better and better."
With the win, Crook County finished the year in fourth place in the Intermountain Conference with a 6-15 overall record and a 4-6 conference mark.
Meanwhile, Redmond, which won the league title a year ago, fell to 3-18 overall and 2-8 in conference play.
Crook County 58, Redmond 42
Tuesday, February 25
Crook County 9 15 13 21 — 58
Redmond 13 12 6 11 — 42
Crook County (58) — Dallas Hutchins 20, Woodward 7, Kasberger 6, Freeman 6, L. Barker 4, Papke 4, Jonas 3, Bales 3, Brooks 2, Zandio 2, Joyce 1, Nguyen, Gish, A. Barker. Totals: 18 16-30 58.
Redmond (42) —Skyla Gonzales 22, Corwin 7, Heikkila 5, Luna 2, Castrow 2, Snyder 2, Dove 2, Hinton, Ernst, McConnell.Totals: 13 16-26 42.
Three-point goals — Crook County: Woodward 2, Freeman 2, Hutchins, Jonas.
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