Molalla girls battle state's best at Sisters, Banks tournaments
Molalla finished the Banks Winter Shootout strong.
After suffering three straight losses over two tournaments, the Indians bounced back to win their final two games.
Molalla first defeated Yamhill-Carlton 52-41 on Friday.
Kaityn Curry had 11 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Hannah Nelzen added 10 points and four rebounds.
Molalla then topped McLoughlin 62-38 on Saturday.
Zoe Wood led the Indians with 14 points and six rebounds. Nelzen had 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
"It's really been good to see Nelzen getting these rebounds," Molalla coach Phil Wiesner said. "That's been an added addition to her game. She's really worked hard and become a well-rounded player for us.
Audri Greer added 10 points, and Curry finished with 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Two of the Indians three losses came at the Sisters Holiday Tournament against top teams in Class 4A — La Grande (Dec. 28) and Baker (Dec. 29).
Molalla trailed La Grande by just four points after the first quarter, but the Tigers, which went on to win both the Sisters and Banks tournaments, gradually added to their lead in each period to come away with a 49-36 victory.
"Overall, it was a good game and we just couldn't climb the mountain," Wiesner said. "We couldn't squeeze down the spread as the game wore on. They had an A game and we probably had a B-plus game. They've got a lot of pieces. They're a tall team. They've got shooters. They've got inside people. They've got outside people. They've got great role players. They're the real deal, for sure."
The Indians then lost to Baker, last year's 4A state champion, 57-43.
Tied 11-11 after the first quarter, the Bulldogs outscored Molalla by six points in the second quarter and by eight in the third to take control of the game.
The Indians then lost to Clatskanie 69-49 on Thursday, Jan. 2 to open the Banks tournament.
The Tigers won the 3A state title last season and are ranked No. 1 in the latest coaches poll.
"They've got two exceptional players in (Olivia) Sprague and (Shelby) Blodgett," Wiesner said. "Those two could play for any team in the state at any level. They're two dominant players. They're tough matchups. We battled that game. It was a physical game and the types of players they are it probably benefited them more than it did us."
Molalla hosts another top team, No. 3 Astoria, this Friday.
"This group is really good about keeping things in perspective," Wiesner said. "They know that we've got a super tough schedule. It's the toughest schedule we've had since I've been here, and we scheduled it on purpose because we knew that we would be a good team and we needed to challenge ourselves."
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