Oroville girls hang on to edge Tigers

OROVILLE – Oroville’s girls basketball team got a bit of payback on their rivals from Tonasket, but it wasn’t easy.

The Hornets held on for a 35-31 victory on Tuesday, Dec. 13, to earn a split of the season series. The Tigers won the first game 10 days earlier, 32-31.

“I was kind of disappointed in our effort,” said Oroville coach Mike Bourn. “But then afterward I found out a number of the kids were sick.

“No matter how you look at it, though, we still have some things to work through, and I think we’ll get there.”

The big difference this time for the Hornets came at the free throw line. After going just 1-of-10 at Tonasket in its one-point loss, Oroville made 12-of-14 from the line to offset a tough shooting night from the floor.

Still, the game was in doubt until the final minute.

“We did not shoot the ball well but I feel the girls played extremely hard,” said Tonasket coach Mike Larson. “We had opportunities to either tie or take the lead but we just couldn’t convert on those opportunities.”

They did convert on those opportunities in the third quarter as Devan Utt scored 10 of her 12 points as the Tigers worked the ball inside.

Bourn was frustrated his defense didn’t adjust more quickly, but once it did, Utt and the Tigers managed just one more basket the rest of the way.

“We buckled down on defense,” Bourn said. “We didn’t give up. Once Kelsey Hughes to front their post (Utt) it made a big difference.

“It’s just a bunch of little things. We can fix them, we just need to decide that we’re going to do it.”

Amber Kilpatrick led all scorers with 14 points for the Tigers.

Naomi Peters had her best scoring night of the year so far, leading the Hornets (3-2) with 11 points. Hughes added nine.

The Hornets’ Saturday, Dec. 17, game at Chelan was postponed due to a rash of player illnesses that would have left the team with a skeleton crew. It has been rescheduled for Jan. 12.

Tonasket 50, Liberty Bell 21

TONASKET – The Tonasket girls basketball team has had trouble scoring points during the early season.

Not so on Saturday, Dec. 17, at least not after a slow start.

The Tigers went on a 30-1 run over an 18-minute stretch to take control of their non-league game with Liberty Bell, and they went on to a 50-21 victory over the Mountain Lions.

“It was nice to finally hit some shots,” Larson said. “It started with our defense, though. Once we buckled down, forced some turnovers and started making layups our confidence grew. We had a lot of girls contribute tonight.”

Liberty Bell took a 4-3 lead early in the first quarter, but didn’t score another basket until early in the fourth, when Tonasket led 33-9,

By then, the Tigers (2-4) were not only scoring off their defense, but outside shots were hitting their marks as well as Baylie Tyus hit a pair of 3-pointers and Amber Kilpatrick and Devan Utt each hit one.

“Devan’s been working on that shot since the summer,” Larson said. “We just haven’t been in a situation where she can use it.

“We got a lot of girls playing time tonight, and when it comes to league play that experience is going to be really important.”

Kilpatrick led the scoring with her second straight 14 point outing, with Utt adding 11 and Tyus eight.

Liberty Bell’s (1-5) Kayla Higbee had eight points.

About Brent Baker

Brent, is a former reporter/photographer for the Gazette-Tribune and sometimes works as a freelance sports reporter for the G-T. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent worked as a full time reporter/photographer at the G-T from 2011 - 2014).

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