High-energy, uptempo style leading to victories
The Crook County Cowgirls are alone in third place in the Intermountain Conference after going 2-1 on the week in league basketball action.
The Cowgirls dropped their opening game of the week 59-41 Tuesday night at Pendleton. However, Crook County bounced back to defeat Redmond 53-41 at home on Thursday, before rolling past The Dalles 45-25 on the road Friday night.
"It's unbelievable the difference from last year," Crook County junior post Emma Bales said following the game. "The mentality is just so much better than it was. We don't have our solid spots. We just know that we have to work hard for it. We were never used to winning, but now we are coming."
Head coach Bob Boback took the blame for Tuesday's loss at Pendleton.
"Actually it was bad coaching," he said. "I thought we could press them, and they broke our press. We were down six at halftime. I like to coach the girls like I wanted to be coached, so I asked them – I said, I think we should take off the press, do you guys want to keep pressing, and they all wanted to keep pressing."
Crook County led 15-13 at the end of the first quarter. However, Pendleton figured out the Cowgirl press in the second quarter, outscoring Crook County 16-8 in the period as they took a 29-23 halftime lead. With the Cowgirls still trying to press, Pendleton pulled away in the third quarter, stretching their lead to 45-32 at the end of three period. Trailing by double digits, Crook County was unable to mount a run in the fourth quarter as the Buckaroos came away with the win.
Bales was a huge bright spot for the Cowgirls, scoring a career-high 23 points in the contest.
"Emma was unstoppable," Boback said. "Like I told her, you got 23 points because the other players got you the ball."
Teagan Freeman added six points for Crook County, while Liz Barker finished with five. Chloe Taber led a balanced Pendleton attack with 12 points, while Baisy Jenness and Muriel Hoisington were also in double figures with 10 points apiece.
Thursday at home, the Cowgirls struggled to get going early, and Redmond took advantage, running out to a 13-7 lead at the end of the first period. The Cowgirls cranked up the defensive pressure in the second quarter, holding the Panthers to just four points as the Cowgirls took a 19-17 first-half lead. The two teams traded baskets in the third quarter, with Crook County taking a 30-27 lead into the final stanza.
The Cowgirls finally got things rolling in the final quarter, as they exploded for 24 points in the period to pull away for the win. Bales had another solid game, scoring a game-high 21 points. However, Boback credited Dallas Hutchins for the Cowgirls' big fourth quarter run.
"What a great fourth quarter Dallas had," he said. "Dallas basically turned the whole tide of the game, just with her speed and making a couple of great shots. Once she did that, Emma picked it up too, and it kind of got contagious."
Hutchins had six points in the quarter and eight in the game, while Liz Barker came off the bench to score five points in the period and also scored eight in the game.
Grace Brooks nailed three three-point shots for the Cowgirls and finished with 11 points in the contest.
Redmond was led by Carson Castrow with 16 points and Jenna Gallacher with 14.
On Friday, the Cowgirls were on the road and once again got off to a slow start.
Crook County led 13-11 after one quarter, and 21-17 at the half. However, the Cowgirl defense clamped down in the third period as Crook County outscored The Dalles 13-1 in the period to jump out to a 34-18 lead. Crook County continued to extend their lead the remainder of the game, despite playing everyone on the roster.
All 11 players on the Cowgirl roster scored in the game, with Kaitlynn Weaver leading the team with 14 points. Abby Barker added five, while Josie Kasberger, Hutchins and Brooks each added four. Natasha Muzenchenko led The Dalles with 12 points.
"This team has grasped so much stuff that I've tried to put in," Boback said. "It's been lets walk through this once for this game because we might need it, so it won't be like we've never done it before. I've given these girls about 10 different offenses I've given them about 10 different defenses and they've got it and all it is now is to start playing basketball. I've told them I don't really want to run an offense, I want to run. I'm just really proud of the girls."
Crook County is now 5-5 overall on the year, and 5-3 in conference play. Pendleton is now 6-1 in conference play, while Redmond dropped to 3-4 and The Dalles is 2-6.
Crook County hosts league leading Ridgeview, 6-1, tonight. The Cowgirls then close out the regular season on Thursday as they travel to Hood River Valley, 0-7. Crook County then closes out the regular season with a Friday game against the Class 4A Madras White Buffalos, who are currently leading the Tri-Valley Conference with a 7-1 league mark and a 9-2 overall record.
Pendleton 59, Crook County 41
Crook County 15 8 9 9 – 41
Pendleton 13 16 16 14 – 59
Three-point goals: Crook County – Weaver 2. Pendleton – Taber 4, Hoisington, Samp, Corbett.
Crook County – Emma Bales 23, Freeman 6, L. Barker 5, Brooks 2, A. Barker 2, Weaver 1, Woodward, Kasberger, Papke, Hutchins, Jonas. Totals: 16 7-10 41.
Pendleton – Chloe Taber 12, Jenness 10, Hoisington 10, Samp 7, Younes 7, Pasena-Little Sky 4, Corbett 3, Brown 2, Corbett, Gomez, Murphy, Schmidt. Totals: 26 4-9 59.
Crook County 53, Redmond 41
at Crook County
Redmond 13 4 10 15 – 41
Crook County 7 11 11 24 – 53
Three-point goals: Redmond – C. Castrow 3. Crook County – Brooks 3.
Redmond – Carson Castrow 16, Gallacher 14, Capps 4, Stewart 4, Gonzalez 2, Herring 1, Johnson, K. Castrow. Totals: 11 6-26 41.
Crook County – Emma Bales 21, Brooks 11, L. Barker 8, Hutchins 8, Weaver 3, Papke 2, Jonas, Kasberger. Totals: 19 12-22 53.
Crook County 45, The Dalles 25
at The Dalles
Crook County 13 8 13 11 – 45
The Dalles 11 6 1 7 – 25
Three-point goals: Crook County – Weaver, Freeman, Brooks. The Dalles – Muzenchenko 3.
Crook County – Kaitlynn Weaver 14, A. Barker 5, Brooks 4, Hutchins 4, Kasberger 4, Freeman 3, Papke 3, Jonas 2, L. Barker 2, Bales 2, Woodward 2. Totals: 19 4-9 45.
The Dalles – Natasha Muzenchenko 12, Ziegenhagen 5, Snyder 3, Oregon 3, Ma. Rojas 2, Mo. Rojas, Robledo, DeLa Cruz, Schatz, Lantz, Stewart. Totals: 9 4-10 25.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.