The Tide's comeback falls short in Century/Hillsboro Holiday Tournament loss to Grizzlies

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Glencoe's Morgan DeBord fights off a McMinnville defender during the Tide's Dec. 28 game in the Century/Hillsboro Holiday Tournament at Century High School.A week removed from a blowout win over historically powerful South Salem — and boasting a 4-3 record and a win earlier this year over the same McMinnville team — the Glencoe Crimson Tide entered their Thursday, Dec. 28, game against the Grizzlies as part of the Century/Hillsboro Holiday Tournament feeling confident in their chances.

McMinnville disagreed.

The Greater Valley Conference Grizzlies took advantage of some hot shooting and a Crimson Tide lull to build a lead, then survived a late Glencoe rally and a last-second heave for a 51-50 win in the second of the three game round-robin tournament at both Century and Hillsboro high schools.

"We dug ourselves too deep a hole in that second and third quarter and we spent the rest of the game trying to chip it back," said Glencoe head coach Kassi Conditt. "Had we played that hard in the first half, we probably would've come out on top."

Glencoe got 14 points and seven rebounds from senior post Izzy Womack and 22 combined points from junior guard Morgan DeBord, senior forward Sydney Larrison and sophomore center Brianna Hall. But McMinnville countered with three players in double figures and seven three pointers, four of which came in a decisive stretch in the second quarter which pushed the Grizzlies' lead to double figures.

"We played McMinnville earlier in the year and beat them in a close game by four," said Conditt. "We match up well with them and I knew it would be another close game, but that second and third quarter stretch just killed us."

Both teams started quick, with Mac taking a 17-16 lead at the end of the first quarter. But following a DeBord basket to start the second, the Grizzlies' Ashley Rhoads and Grace Bliven hit on consecutive three-pointers to open up a five-point lead, then made it 10 on a Kylee Arzner shot from behind the arc, followed by two free throws and a lay-in by Kayla Heuberger to make the score 30-20.

Glencoe pulled to within eight at the half, but McMinnville again made it 10 on a Alix Williams basket, then 12 on a Heuberger jumper — and when Rhoads scored in the paint to make the lead 14, Conditt was forced to take a timeout to get her troops back on the same page.

"We're working on a new defensive philosophy and we still have a few lapses," the coach said. "They ran a 2-3 zone last season and we're working on playing man, so a lot of it comes down to communication. We're getting it, but it cost us a bit tonight."

The lead got to as much as 11 in the third, but the Tide finished the quarter on a 6-0 run to trail 43-38 heading to the final stanza.

Glencoe's Elizabeth Anderson and Breauna Van Dyke opened the fourth with a couple free throws, then Ball pulled them within one with a basket midway through the quarter. The two teams traded blows over the next few minutes before the Tide got their first lead since the first quarter when DeBord made it 48-47 with just over two minutes remaining. The Grizzlies got the lead back when Rhoads scored, then Williams made it 51-48 on a bucket in the paint with just under a minute to go.

However, Glencoe was't dead, as Womack pulled them within one with just under 20 seconds left — and when the Tide got a turnover at the other end, the scene was set for a dramatic final second victory.

Not tonight.

The Tide failed to get a quality look in transition and were forced to settle for a contested 20-footer from senior Ezinne Egbo that missed its desired mark as time expired.

Despite the loss, a somewhat frustrated Conditt is excited about the Metro League season ahead.

"I feel great about the team," she said. "We just need to make a few fixes on defense, and we're getting much better at it and we did much better with it tonight."

The coach said the change will take time, but is confident in her squad and equally confident in their ability to contend with even the top teams in the Metro.

"The biggest thing is just talking on defense," said Conditt.

Which she feels won't be a problem for these girls, due in part to their exemplary team chemistry.

"I think the girls' closeness is probably one of our biggest strengths," Conditt continued. "These girls genuinely like each other and want to be there for one another."

Glencoe went on to defeat Willamette 44-25 in their final game of the tournament and was scheduled to host crosstown rival Century Dec. 3, after the Tribune's press deadline.

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