The Crook County High School girls basketball team is starting to gain some momentum.
After starting the season with an 0-3 record, the Cowgirls have won three of their last four games.
Friday, May 28, the Cowgirls got off to a slow start in a home game against Hood River Valley, but the team came on strong late in the game as they rolled past the Eagles 60-27. Then, late Tuesday, the Cowgirls played with Ridgeview in the first quarter, before getting outscored 20-4 in the second period of a 53-30 road loss.
After such a disappointing loss, the Cowgirls came back to blast The Dalles 52-17 in a home game on Thursday. The win pushed Crook County to a 3-4 overall record, a 3-2 league mark and sole possession of third place in the Intermountain Conference.
Hood River Valley and Crook County were tied 12-12 at the end of one quarter. But the Cowgirls cracked down on defense in the second quarter, outscoring the Eagles 13-5 as they took a 25-17 lead into the locker room at halftime. Then, Crook County shifted into high gear offensively in the third quarter as they exploded for 27 points while holding Hood River Valley to just four as their full court press started to work.
With a 52-21 lead the entire fourth quarter, the contest was played with a running clock as the Cowgirls played their entire roster the remainder of the game.
"It wasn't very effective in the first half because we haven't practiced it," head coach Bob Boback said of the team's press. "We haven't worked on it, but I wanted to get the flow going I wanted it to get into being kind of a rat race instead of just going back and setting up and slowing it down. I wanted to get our girls going. They are amazing. Usually, my teams have two weeks of practice and the whole month of December and after the first of the year we are pretty good. These girls, we've had three practices with the whole team now, so, they are doing a real good job of grabbing getting hold of what we are doing."
Dallas Hutchins led the Cowgirls in scoring with 13, while Kaitlynn Weaver was also in double figures with 12 points. Grace Brooks added nine, while Liz Barker and Lauren Papke each finished with six.
On Tuesday, Crook County trailed 10-6 after one period. But, they struggled in the second quarter as Ridgeview went on a 20-0 run as they outscored the Cowgirls 20-4 in the period. Trailing 30-10 at the half, Boback talked to the team at length in the locker room.
"I wasn't very pleased with how we played the second quarter," Boback said. "I just thought we were playing timid and I told the girls at halftime, we aren't playing timid anymore. We are going to get after people and if we don't, we will press. We are going to make people think when they play Crook County, they are going to have to really run because we are athletic. And we are athletic. We aren't using our athletic ability. We have got to start running the court. We've got to start pressing. We've got to start getting transition baskets."
The team played better in the second half, playing even in the third period and getting outscored by just three in the fourth quarter.
Weaver led the Cowgirls in scoring with seven points, while Brooks finished with six and Emma Bales four. All told, nine Cowgirls scored in the game.
Boback said that he believes that bad quarter and the halftime talk may have helped the team turn the corner on their season. Ridgeview is undefeated in conference play and 7-1 overall, but the Cowgirls played right with the Ravens in the second half.
With a day of practice in between, and motivation from the positive second half against Ridgeview the Cowgirls came out on fire to open their game with The Dalles. Playing an aggressive full court press, Crook County jumped out to an 11-0 start and led 17-2 at the end of the first period. Crook County took the press off in the second quarter, but still outscored the Riverhawks 14-5 in the period as they took a 31-7 halftime lead. By the end of the third quarter, Crook County led 44-14 as the remainder of the game was played with running time.
"We are getting better, mentally mostly," said Kaitlynn Weaver, who transferred in from Class 2A Knappa High School. "I feel like we are getting stronger. It's a huge adjustment going from 2A. I love it though. This level is a lot more motivating. As of right now, I feel like we have really bonded together and we feel really strong and are going to kick some butt."
Brooks led the Cowgirls in scoring with 12, including nine in the decisive opening quarter. Josie Kasberger was also in double figures with 10, while Bales finished with six, and Weaver chipped in with five.
"I think that we do need to use our athleticism more," Boback said. "I don't think there is a team in our league that is as fast as us top to bottom. These girls are so used to walking the ball up the court and quite frankly that drives me nuts. I want to run the ball. I was very pleased. We took a knockout punch on Tuesday against Ridgeview the other night, so I saw this coming tonight. We worked on a couple different offenses tonight just to see how they worked. It was a night to get a win, but we also used it as a really good practice."
Crook County plays at Pendleton tonight, then will host the Redmond Panthers in a 7 p.m. game on Thursday.
Crook County 60, Hood River Valley 27
at Crook County
Hood River Valley 12 5 4 6 – 27
Crook County 12 13 27 8 – 60
Three-point goals: Hood River Valley – Castaneda, Schrankel, Rosselle, Kroll. Crook County – Brooks 2, Hutchins.
Hood River Valley – Ryann Rosselle 7, Leiblein 4, Castaneda 3, McNerney 3, Schrankel 3, Kroll 3, Griggs 2, Slatt 2, Santillan. Totals: 9 5-11 27.
Three-point goals: Crook County – Brooks, Jonas. Ridgeview – Albrecht 2, Pentzer, Harding, Homan.
Crook County – Kaitlynn Weaver 7, Brooks 6, Bales 4, Hutchins 3, Jonas 3, L. Barker 2, Kasberger 2, Papke 2, A. Barker 1, Woodward, Freeman. Totals: 11 6-12 30.
Ridgeview – Jenna Albrecht 16, Paige Pentzer 16, Harding 9, Homan 4, Gates 4, Davis 3, L. Pentzer 1, Del Valle Olivares. Totals: 20 8-17 53.
Crook County 52, The Dalles 17
at Crook County
The Dalles 2 5 7 3 – 17
Crook County 17 14 13 8 – 52
Three-point goals: The Dalles – Muzechenko. Crook County – Brooks 2, Hutchins, Freeman, Kasberger, Woodward.
The Dalles – Cadence Snyder 5, Oregon 4, Nuzenchenko 3, Robledo 2, Ziegenhagen 2, Schatz 1, Schatz, Rojas, Stewart. Totals: 8 4-6 17.
Crook County – Grace Brooks 12, Kasberger 10, Hutchins 9, Bales 6, Weaver 5, L. Barker 4, Freeman 3, Woodward 3, Papke, Jonas, A. Barker. Totals: 21 4-6 52.
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