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The Bruins hand the Cavaliers their first MHC loss and close within half a game of first.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Clackamas' Eliza Buerk (left) blocks a shot by Barlow's Annie Koenig during the Bruins' 64-58 win at Clackamas High School on Friday, June 11.It was just a regular season game.

It didn't determine a league title or which team would get to the state tournament.

But you wouldn't have known it from the way the Clackamas and Barlow girls basketball teams went at each other on Friday, June 11, at Clackamas High School.

The Cavaliers and Bruins went at each other hard for 32 minutes and took their best shots all night before Barlow pulled away in the fourth quarter to win 64-58 in a key Mt. Hood Conference matchup.

"It feels great. Awesome," said Barlow sophomore guard Kennedie Shuler, who finished with eight points (on 3 of 6 shooting with two 3-pointers), along with four assists and three rebounds. "We stayed composed and we wanted redemption and I think we just took care of business and played for each other and played really well."

"Yeah, it was amazing. We really wanted to get this one," said sophomore guard Annie Koenig, who finished with 16 points (on 4 of 12 shooting from the field with two "threes" and a 6 of 6 day at the free throw line), along with four rebounds and two assists. "They got us last time and we were prepared today."

With the win — the team's fourth straight — the Bruins avenged a 60-50 loss back on May 21 and improved to 8-2 in MHC play and 9-2 overall. Clackamas, meanwhile, saw its two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 8-1 in MHC play and 9-2 overall.

"I think we came in ready. We were fired up, but they were fired up, too," said Clackamas sophomore guard Rhyan Mogel, who finished with 16 points (on 6 of 9 shooting from the field with one 3-pointer and a 3 of 5 day at the foul line), along with six rebounds, three assists and three steals. "They came out strong. We hit a couple shots early on, but down the stretch, it was tough."

"The first time we played them, both teams were kind of sloppy because it was only our third game of the season," said sophomore forward Eliza Buerk, who finished with 15 points (on 5 of 11 shooting from the floor with one "three" and a 4 of 7 day at the line), along with nine rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal. "But this time, both teams came in prepared and they just outplayed us."

Barlow 64, Clackamas 58

The Cavaliers started fast with back-to-back 3-pointers from senior Bella Garcia and Buerk to lead 6-0 in the game's first minute, but Barlow did not flinch.

Instead, the Bruins answered with a 17-6 edge over the final 6 minutes, 34 seconds of the opening period to grab a 17-12 lead, with sophomore forward Rilyn Quirke pouring in eight points (her court time on Friday was limited by an anke injury), junior Melanie Hiu adding another five (including one "three"), and Koenig and freshman Kylie Ihrig scoring two each.

The Bruins kept the heat on early in the second quarter, too, getting a "three" from sophomore Olivia Payne assisted by Quirke on the left wing and a pair of foul shots by junior Jessie Matthews to push ahead 21-14 with 3:47 to go in the half.

But Clackamas was not going to get blown out on its home court. No indeed.

The Cavaliers responded with a 7-2 run over the next 2:26 to close within 23-21, opening with a Mogel hoop on a reverse spin into the lane, then continuing when Buerk rebounded her own miss and scored, and Garcia took a Buerk pass and drilled another 3-pointer with 1:21 remaining in the half.

While Barlow led 25-21 at the break, the third quarter was a pitched battle that featured three ties — the last of those at 30-30 on a Mogel cut assisted by Buerk midway through the period — and no lead larger than four points. Clackamas hung close behind four points each by Mogel and senior Maddie Tacheny, a 3-pointer from Garcia and one basket from sophomore Sophia Hardy. For Barlow, Shuler came through with five points, Hiu hit three foul shots and Koenig buried two "threes" and scored eight points, including a 3-pointer in the final seconds that gave her team a 41-37 edge heading into the fourth quarter.

Mogel brought her team within 41-39 on another inside hoop assisted by Buerk, but the Bruins held the upper hand down the stretch, outscoring the Cavaliers 23-19 in the game's final 6:51 to pull away.

Payne played a huge role in that span, scoring nine points in the game's final 5:35, knocking down two "threes" and three free throws, while Hiu tacked on five more points, Koenig four and Shuler a 3-pointer.

"We love to play team ball. We love to work together," Koenig said. "We practice and then we put it out here on the floor. We trust each other, we trust each other to make the right play. We were ready."

On their side of the court, the Cavaliers knew they could have done more late in the game and vowed to learn from their loss.

"Some of those kids came off the bench and hit some good shots," Mogel said. "That wasn't on the scouting report, but you've got to be able to adjust, recognize that down the stretch and find them in transition."

For Barlow, Hiu added 13 points, two rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block, and Payne had 12 points and two rebounds. For Clackamas, Garcia added nine points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal, while Tacheny had eight points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

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