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After dominating the Cardinals, Molalla battled to a close 71-59 defeat to the White Buffalo

ARCHIVE PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Molalla's Zoe Wood led the team with 18 points against Corbett. 
Molalla's up and down journey through the Tri-Valley Conference (TVC) continued this past week. The girls' basketball team split contests with Corbett and Madras, winning the former in dominant fashion 75-30, and dropping the latter after a close 71-59 battle.

Against Corbett on Tuesday, Feb. 12, Molalla was in complete control the entire time. Molalla outscored the Cardinals 39-11 in the first half, and held the home team to just eight points in the third quarter. That defensive masterclass came hand in hand with a consistent offensive output. The second and third quarters saw Molalla put up 46 points, and three players score double digits. Sophomore Zoe Wood shot 7-for-13 from the field, and went 2-of-2 from the free throw line, for 18 points in just three quarters of play. Senior Hannah Fincher also put in three quarters worth, recording 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. Junior Madeline Lisac had 13 points with 75 percent shooting from the field.

After three dominant quarters, Molalla head coach Phil Wiesner utilized the final stanza of the game to give his bench players valuable minutes.

"Our young kids are getting a lot of valuable experience against these physical teams in hostile environments and I'm pleased with their overall growth," Wiesner said. "We're working on taking the next step with them getting more consistency with their play. We were able to rest the starters in the 4 quarter which is great for developing our bench."

On Thursday, Feb. 14 Molalla locked horns with Madras, the No. 2 team in the TVC. Molalla came out of the gate strong, leading the White Buffalo 15-12 after the first quarter, and hanging onto a 27-22 lead at the half.

However, foul trouble and a missing starting player eventually caught up to Molalla as the clock wound down on the game. Madras edged Molalla in the third quarter 19-16.

"We actually led by one point with slightly more than a minute to go in the third quarter but Madras in great at turning your mistakes into points," Wiesner said. "In that minute they turned a couple of defensive errors and poor decisions into 9 points for them. We really never recovered from that minute of play."

From there, Madras extended its lead with a 20-16 performance in the final quarter.

"While ending in an 'L,' I was very proud of the team who kept their composure and competed beginning to end of the game," Wiesner said. "Not making any kind of excuses. We got beat but there were a lot of reasons the girls could've given themselves to throw in the towel, however they chose not to. They are definitely maturing as a team and individuals."

Stepping up into the starting position at the last minute, junior Audriahna Greer recorded 15 points, including four baskets from beyond the arc. Greer was also flawless when handling the ball, not turning it over in her 28 minutes of play.

Senior Samara Nacoste came off the bench with 12 points and four rebounds, and sophomore Hannah Nelzen recorded 8 bench points of her own. Though finding herself in foul trouble, senior Mattie Myers had 7 points, 7 assists, and 9 rebounds.

Molalla (5-4 in TVC play, 13-10 overall) has one final league contest against Gladstone (5-4 in TVC play, 11-12 overall) on Tuesday, Feb. 19 after the Pioneer goes to press.

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