Cougars make one comeback, but not two
NWAC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
|Mt. Hood CC Saints|
|Clackamas CC Cougars|
OREGON CITY — The Clackamas Community College women's basketball team battled back from a big deficit in the first half, but asking to do it again proved too much in a 69-66 home loss to Mt. Hood on Wednesday night.
Jaci Jensen drilled a 3-pointer to put the Saints up 16-7 early in the second quarter.
Clackamas slapped on the press and forced three straight turnovers in the backcourt. Paige Downer would hit a 3 from the top of the arc to put the Cougars on top briefly at 22-21.
The teams would go on to trade the lead six times and were rarely more than a basket apart until late in the third quarter.
That's when Madison Allen happened.
It started almost by accident when her entry pass into center Tasha Beckett got tipped by a Clackamas defender. Allen went into fast-forward mode, collected the deflected ball near the rim and scored it off the glass while falling away from the hoop.
After a quick miss on the other end, Allen swished a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, then swiped the Cougars' inbounds pass and scored a layup.
The Gresham High graduate scored seven points in less time than it takes to sell a Big Mac during the Super Bowl, and Mt. Hood saw its three-point lead grow to 52-42.
"It's a rivalry game, so we wanted to come out strong in the second half. I felt intense and excited," Allen said. "Getting that lead allowed us to relax and play our best game."
The Saints kept it going early in the fourth when Beckett slipped between two defenders in the lane for a layup.
Then on the defensive end, she ripped the ball away from Cougars' center Audrey Barden on the block and started dribbling the other way. Beckett put on a wiggle to get past the last defender and converted a three-point play to give Mt. Hood it's largest lead at 57-44.
"I handled the ball some in high school. It was finally my chance, and I was pretty excited," Beckett said.
Beckett, a 6-foot-1 rookie out of Utah, plays largely in the post for the Saints.
Clackamas put together a late surge when Savannah Duarte hit a 10-footer from the baseline, and Landy Williams went high off the backboard on a put back at the front of the rim to make it a one-possession game with 2:20 to play.
Mt. Hood was whistled for a traveling violation, and the Cougars inched closer when Duarte lifted a layup over the side of the rim.
The Saints missed at the other end, but Beckett came up with a pivotal offensive rebound and went back up to keep the Saints on top 66-63 with 40.8 seconds left.
"I was focused in on getting to the board and putting it back up," Beckett said.
Clackamas had a chance for a tying 3, but a long ball out of the corner went wild and clipped the top of the backboard.
Kassidy Ellett and Allen combined to hit three consecutive free throws to seal the game in the final seconds.
Williams finished with a game-high 20 points, half of that coming on 10-for-13 (.769) shooting from the free-throw line. C.J. Buckely added 16 points.
Clackamas (8-9) hits the halfway mark in league a game behind Chemeketa in the chase for the South Region's final playoff spot.
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