Damascus girls rally to claim Valley 10 crown
1A GIRLS BASKETBALL
Valley 10 title game
|#4 Damascus Christian|
|#7 Country Christian|
PORTLAND — The Damascus Christian girls basketball team saved its best for last, doubling up Country Christian in the fourth quarter to chase down the Cougars for a 47-41 win in Saturday's Valley 10 championship game.
The Eagles found themselves down eight midway through the third quarter when Emily Powers swiped a steal that turned into a 3-pointer by teammate Noelle Wakefield to spark the comeback.
Damascus edged in front 31-29 late in the third quarter when Wakefield inbounded a ball along the baseline, then squeezed along the sideline to get it back for a quick turn-and-fire 3-pointer.
"Originally, I wasn't going to take that shot, but I noticed my defender was pretty far away," Wakefield said. "It was a big game, and we really needed the points. We knew we had time to get back into the game."
Madison Halverson answered with a triple at the other end. After an Eagles' miss, Lizzy Grandle rushed down the sideline and was fouled at the third-quarter horn. She stepped alone to the free-throw line and sank one of two, putting the Cougars up two heading into the fourth quarter.
Damascus put on its winning surge, pulling even when Powers came up with a steal and beat everyone down the floor. She came to a jump stop in the paint, waited for her closest pursuer to fly past, then put a layup softly off the glass.
On the Eagles next trip, McKenna Patrick came up with her first bucket of the night, a 12-footer from the baseline, to put Damascus on top to stay 37-35 as the clock ticked under four minutes.
"I saw that I was way open, so I went for it and prayed that I'd make it," Patrick said. "Once we had the lead, we were confident our defense could hold them."
Patrick played a part in that defensive effort, coming up with a steal that would lead to Powers finding Wakefield for a corner 3 and a commanding 42-35 lead with 2:40 to play.
Damascus Christian's Julia Mitchell picked off a Country inbounds pass and zoomed down the floor only to stop herself as she took a dribble into the paint. She pulled the ball back out to the perimeter, and the Eagles took half-a-minute off the clock before the Cougars were forced to foul.
Patrick sank two at the free-throw line for a 44-37 lead with barely a minute to play.
"We had kids make some big shots — it took a complete team effort tonight," Damascus coach Dave Wakefield said.
Powers finished with a game-high 18 points, while Wakefield added 14.
Damascus Christian (23-2), ranked No. 4, gets a bye in Tuesday's first round and will host a playoff game Friday night.
"It's always a big thing to only need one win to get to Baker City," Dave Wakefield said. "No draw is easy, but at least we are playing at home."
No. 7-ranked Country took charge early with four 3-pointers in the opening quarter, two of them by Halverson, for a 14-8 lead.
Damascus cut it to a one-possession game late in the second quarter, only to see Country's Lanie Barden hit a pair of 3s to send the Cougars into halftime up 22-16.
Country kept it rolling after the break when Grandle drove through the lane and converted an underhand scoop shot for an eight-point lead — the Cougars' largest of the game.
"They were really hot most of the night, and we just had to get out and get a hand in their face," Powers said. "I had confidence that if we stepped it up we would be able to take over the lead."
The Eagles had Noelle Wakefield tighten up space on Barden in the second half, while Ally Love drew the assignment on league MVP Grandle.
The result? The Cougars' two biggest threats combined for three buckets in the second half, in which Damascus outscored Country 31-19.
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This story is scheduled for our Tuesday, Feb. 25, print edition.
Valley 10 title game
COUNTRY 14 8 11 8 — 41
DAMASCUS 8 8 15 16 — 47
Country Christian (41) — Lanie Barden 11, Madison Halverson 11, Lizzy Grandle 11, Bafford 5, Burruel 3, Syphard, Huffstetler, Begley, Shelton.
Damascus Christian (47) — Emily Powers 18, Wakefield 14, Mitchell 7, Patrick 4, Love 2, Hale 2, Bailey.
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