Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



The Cowgirls continued their hot start to the season last week, defeating two visiting schools from Eastern Oregon.

PMG PHOTO: LON AUSTIN - Crook County guard McCall Woodward plans her move to the hoop during the Cowgirls' win over La Grande.The Crook County Cowgirl basketball team continues to roll.

The Cowgirls won two more games this week as they pushed their record to 12-1 heading into Saturday's opening round of the Intermountain Conference season.

However, just because they have continued winning does not mean that it has been easy.

The Cowgirls survived a late La Grande rally to take a 43-41 win at home Friday, then broke open a close game late on Saturday as they rolled past Baker 42-35.

The La Grande game looked even closer as the Tigers hit what appeared to be a three-point shot at the final buzzer to pull to within a single point. However, the shot was eventually counted as a two-point goal, giving the Cowgirls a two-point win.

"What it shows is that we are still a work in progress," Crook County head coach Bob Boback said following the La Grande game. "We have done this a couple of times this year, where we were right on the verge of breaking out and we make a bad pass or we turn the ball over or we shoot too quick and all at once the team comes down and we miss a defensive assignment and a game that should be a 10-point game is a three-point game. They were tough, but we just keep clawing away and we keep fighting."

Playing in front of the home crowd, the Cowgirls pulled out to a 10-5 first quarter lead. The team led 27-19 at the half and looked like they were about to put the game away. However, Crook County could only muster six points in the third quarter as La Grande came roaring back to close to within a point at 33-32 to end the third quarter.

Early in the fourth, the Cowgirls once again opened up their lead, but again, La Grande refused to die, fighting to the very end.

The difference in the game turned out to be free throws as Crook County made 14 in the game, including six of 12 in the final quarter, while La Grande made 10 free throws in the contest.

It is the second time this season that the Cowgirls defeated La Grande in a close game.

PMG PHOTO: LON AUSTIN - Crook County point guard Katelynn Weaver, the team's leading scorer, goes up for a lay-in during the Cowgirls' win over Baker.Katelynn Weaver led the Cowgirls with 13 points, while Grace Brooks added 10 and McCall Woodward chipped in with nine points.

Meanwhile, La Grande was led by Maezie Wilcox with 11.

Saturday was another tough battle for the Cowgirls.

"That was like a state tournament game," Boback said of the game against Baker. "Before the game, I told them you have to really be ready because I think that is the best team we have played so far. And you know that's our next step — every game we learn something more about our team."

Baker led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter and still led 20-19 at the half.

However, the Cowgirls pulled out to a 27-26 lead at the end of three periods. The Cowgirls then slowly pulled away in the fourth quarter as Weaver scored 10 of her game-high 18 points in the final frame.

Emma Bales was also in double figures for the Cowgirls with 12 points, 11 of those in the first half.

Baker was led by Taylor Gyllenberg with 10.

"Oh man, it's so much fun to coach these girls," Boback said. "I'm asking them to do a lot. We are switching defenses, sometimes every single substitution, and they are doing it. They are coachable and they just work hard and when it comes down to prime time, they just get real tenacious and they don't give up."

The Cowgirls have won five games in a row, despite not having the use of defensive stopper Lauren Papke, who went down in the fourth game of the year with a knee injury. However, Papke expects to be back part way through the league season.

"It hurts, not being able to play, but at the same time it gives me a different perspective for when I do come back," Papke said after Saturday's win. "It gives me an opportunity to be a better teammate and to learn more, so when I do get to come back, I will come back better."

Although the Cowgirls have gotten most of their scoring all season from Weaver, Brooks and Bales, other players have stepped up when necessary.

Boback noted that Woodward and McKenzie Jonas are being asked to play big minutes each night, while guarding the best offensive players on the other teams.

Both Jonas and Woodward have stepped up and hit key three-point shots during close games to help the Cowgirl cause.

In addition, on Friday when the Cowgirls got into foul trouble, sophomore Kaylyn Fildes came off the bench and pitched in with four rebounds and solid defense.

"I think that we can't look at the record right now, because whatever happens we are going to do it as a team and as a family," Brooks said Saturday. "I am really grateful that as a team we are sticking together. We have worked hard for this and we have put in so much time for this, but we just need to keep playing. Someone always steps up and then I don't think anyone has had a fully down game. We have just always had people that step up. Josie Kasberger has stepped up while Lauren is gone and Kaylyn stepped up a lot last night. We just come out hard and keep showing everybody that we are here and are playing hard and are just playing as a family."

The Cowgirls open Intermountain Conference action Saturday when they host Hood River Valley, 3-3, in a 3:30 p.m. game.

Crook County 43, La Grande 41

At Crook County

La Grande 5 14 13 9 – 41

Crook County 10 17 6 10 – 43

La Grande – Maezie Wilcox 11, Shorts 8, Strand 4, Jensen 4, Kump 4, Collman 3, Neer 3, Dunlap 2, Arant 2, Wilson, Pennington. Totals: 14 10-15 41.

Crook County – Katelynn Weaver 13, Brooks 10, Woodward 9, Bales 5, Jonas 4, Kasberger 2, Fildes. Totals: 13 14-28 43.

Three-point goals – La Grande: Collman. Crook County: Woodward 2, Jonas.

Crook County 42, Baker 35

At Crook County

Baker 12 8 6 9 – 35

Crook County 11 8 8 15 – 42

Baker – Taylor Gyllenberg 10, Elms 8, Moore 8, Ramos 3, Jaca 2, Pierce 2, Flanigan 2, Roy. Totals: 13 9-21 35.

Crook County – Katelynn Weaver 18, Bales 12, Woodward 6, Jonas 3, Kasberger 2, Brooks 1. Totals: 13 14-23 42.

Three-point goals –Baker: Gyllenberg 2. Crook County: Jonas, Woodward.

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