Molalla heats up from 3 in win at Country Christian
Country Christian coach Russ Halverson was not exactly sure how his team would match up against Class 4A Molalla.
But he knew the Cougars would have to stop at least one Molalla player — his neighbor, Zoe Wood.
After a quiet first quarter, Wood began heating up in the second and finished the game with 21 points, while going 9-for-9 from the free throw line, as the Indians won 69-58 at Country Christian Saturday.
"I thought the biggest difference in the game was we gave Zoe too many looks on the perimeter and free throws," Halverson said. "You've got to know that kid. You give her free throws, she's going to make 99.9 percent of them. She's amazing and she can shoot anywhere on the perimeter. We switched to the zone, but we had to know where Zoe is and twice we fell asleep on it and she made us pay both times. She's my neighbor. I love her to depth. If anybody is going to beat us, I'm OK with Zoe beating us."
The Indians and Cougars went back-and-forth in the first quarter and into the second.
But after a layup by Country Christian sophomore Lizzy Grandle tied the game at 11-11 with 6:30 remaining in the first half, Maddy Lisac scored to give Molalla the lead.
Wood then drained three free throws to extend the Indians lead to 16-11.
Molalla led for the rest of the game as a Hannah Nelzen 3-pointer, block and jump shot put the Indians up 21-13 with 3:16 to go.
With 1:28 remaining, Molalla lost Lisac after the senior guard dived on the floor, injuring her left elbow.
Lisac, who had 10 points in the first half, spent the second half on the bench with ice on her arm.
The Indians then heated up from 3-point range to extend their lead to 50-26 with 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
"I thought we tightened up our defense, our shot selection and ball movement got better," Molalla coach Phil Wiesner said.
The Indians made a combined eight 3-pointers in the second and third quarters.
"We were going to make them have to beat us outside so we were taking away the paint," Halverson said. "That's what they had to do to beat us."
Off the bench, Molalla senior Audri Greer made three 3-pointers and finished with 14 points.
"Her motor is always going and I appreciate that about her," Wiesner said of Greer. "She's always making things happen out there."
Nelzen also had 14 points, all in the first half.
Molalla led 61-41 early in the fourth quarter. But Country Christian finished the game strong as Lanie Barden buried a 3-pointer with 38 seconds remaining in the game to get within 65-58.
"I wasn't real pleased with our situation in the last three or four minutes," Wiesner said. "We didn't want to sit on the ball, but we certainly wanted to make layups and be at the line. Instead we were shooting jump shots after a pass or two. We were playing like the team that was behind instead of ahead."
Grandle and freshman Annie Bafford each had 16 points for Country Christian.
"I thought Annie had her best game of the year," Halverson said. "We've been putting a ton of energy on the inside game with her. She did fantastic."
With the win, Molalla improved to 9-7 overall, while Country Christian dropped to 13-5.
"It was a good game against a good team," Wiesner said. "We knock each other around in the summer all of the time. The kids know each other. We purposely schedule, regardless of classification, the toughest teams we can and we consider them a tough team. They're a tough team and they can beat an awful lot of 4A teams and they could us on any given night."
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