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The Buckaroos got big points from Stella Koch, Frankie Lear to overcome 2A Eagles and move to 4-0

ST. PAUL, Ore. — It was a grind for St. Paul's girls basketball team, but in the end it came out with the fourth win of the young season and the third win of the week when it defeated the visiting East Linn Christian Eagles 45-27 on Friday, Dec. 10.

The Bucks remained undefeated with a 4-0 record overall, but there was a definite fatigue factor early in the game. St. Paul's looks at the rim and passing were hit and miss in the first quarter, but still the home team did enough to edge out a 13-8 lead after the first eight minutes.

That slow start didn't help St. Paul, but by the second and third quarters the team found its legs and was able to establish a rhythm both offensively and defensively.

"Early, we were tired," St. Paul head coach Dave Matlock said. "We went clear to Jewell last night, that's an 85-mile drive one way. That was our second game, we had one on Tuesday, a tough one, against Mohawk, we won by 11 but that was a tough one. That was away. So a lot of traveling and they got homework and all that stuff."

The second quarter saw limited scoring from St. Paul, who only mustered six points total, but they held onto the lead heading into halftime up 19-14.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Junior Stella Koch led the St. Paul basketball team in scoring against the East Linn Christian on Friday, Dec. 10.

The third quarter saw the Bucks pull away entirely thanks in large part to the shooting of junior wing Frankie Lear. The 5-6 shooter put up eight points in the quarter, including a pair of daggers from beyond the arc. Her shooting was the product of aggressive drives in and kicking out to find the open player. Lear finished with 15 points on the night.

In the fourth quarter junior Stella Koch put the game away for St. Paul, fighting to the line on two separate occasions and grabbing a bucket in the paint for five points in the eight minutes. Koch finished the game with 16 points total and was a difference maker for the home team in its fourth consecutive victory. The play of those two was even more impressive given the Bucks competed without their third captain Anabelle Davidson.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Junior Frankie Lear lit up the scoreboard against East Linn Christian with a series of buckets from beyond the arc.

"We've had to adapt to doing this without Anabelle," Matlock said. "That's another huge feather in the cap of the girls in that everyone else has stepped up. I think that's where Frankie, Anabelle and Stella are learning through their leadership is how to be a leader. Just one of those things where you have peer pressure from within to have everyone be accountable, that's leadership. It's not when it's going good, it's when it's tough. … I saw that with Frankie's defense and she hit some big shots; Stella attacked. It's not only on the court, it's the whole aura."

St. Paul (1-0 in Casco League, 4-0 overall) gets a breather on the weekend and will return Monday, Dec. 13, to face off against Perrydale (2-2).

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