Turnovers, low shooting percentage keep the Lady Viks from being able to close the gap

Colton's girls' basketball team went 1-1 in its first week of preseason play as the Lady Viks took a seven-point win over Portland Christian Wednesday, but were unable to shoot and take care of the ball well enough to keep the St. Paul Buckaroos within their sights on Friday.

Colton will have some work to do concerning their ball handling, as they totaled 27 turnovers against Portland Christian and 21 against St. Paul, along with their shooting as they shot 33 percent against the Bucks and 32.7 percent against the Royals. Through two games, senior Katie Wills leads with 21 points, while senior Grace James follows up with 16.

"We knew St. Paul was going to be super tough, so after Wednesday (Portland Christian) where we had a really bad third quarter, it was our goal to be consistent the whole game tonight, play 100 percent, and focus on defense since they have height over us," James said after the game.

And while the Lady Viks turned around their third quarter performance between the two games –they were outscored 13-2 by the Royals but kept up with St. Paul 13-14 – their effort in the fourth quarter flipped, outscoring Portland Christian 15-5 but going 10-4 against St. Paul in the fourth.

"Coming into the third quarter, we really needed to box out because our rebounding was awful, they were getting all the offensive and defensive boards," James said. "And we had to start watching our foul count, that's why we had to put in some of the younger players, which isn't really good, but I guess it gave some of us a break because we're still trying to get in shape."

Though the Bucks' shooting percentage from the field was lower than the Lady Viks' they made 77.8 percent of their free throws (14/18) while Colton made just 11 percent (1/9), and turned the ball over 17 times compared to Colton's 21.

The Lady Viks' rotating is seeing some significant changes compared to last year's squad, especially after the graduation of All-League standout Rachel McCoy.

"I was pretty surprised at who was coming up this year, but I guess we needed more of a bench," James said. "Obviously it's been a struggle losing Rachel, but I think we'll be able to play as more of a team this year."

"[I am] feeling frustrated, but I think it's just going to make us better in the long run, so we're just waiting to play Thursday and make some adjustments."

After leading 19-12 two minutes into the second quarter, St. Paul sophomore Erin Counts kicked things up and scored 11 points to put the Bucks up 31-16 at the half.

Then in the third, Colton picked things up and scored 13 points as Wills connected for seven, but the Bucks were able to keep their offensive efforts going as well and led 48-29 going into the fourth, which was Colton's lowest-scoring quarter of the game.

"We ran the court well tonight; in the second half, they kind of came back and we got a little scared, but we were able to finish it out," Counts said. "They pressured us a little, and I think we weren't used to that, but we set to be stronger, and we were."

"Moving forward, we want to be stronger with the ball and know when to pass it. We're feeling good, this was a strong game, but we still need to improve and keep moving forward."

Up next for Colton are the Junction City and Harrisburg tournaments; they play at 4:15 on Thursday, Dec. 7 at Harrisburg High School, at 7:15 Friday at Junction City, and at 12:30 on Saturday back at Harrisburg.

The Bucks travel to Gervais on Wednesday and will then play in the Southwest Christian tournament this weekend before hosting Colton next Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

Conner Williams
Sports Reporter/News Contributor
503-829-2301 ext. 341
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