Tigers catch fire, nip Fillies with comeback

TONASKET – It took a quarter for the Tonasket girls basketball team to get untracked on defense, and a half to get the offense rolling.

But that was enough for the Tigers, as they bounced back from an 11-point deficit on Dec. 20 to beat Bridgeport 42-37.

The Tigers doubled up the Fillies 28-14 in the second half, but didn’t take the lead until Baylie Tyus hit the first of back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter. Tyus scored 15 of her game-high 18 points during a 17-2 run that turned a 28-21 deficit into a 38-30 lead.

“We only shot 4-of-23 in the first half, and for awhile I thought it was going to be like the last time we played them (a 27-25 loss),” said Tonasket coach Mike Larson. “But Devan (Utt) started getting some low block stuff, and after awhile our shots started to fall. It helped open up our 3’s, and when those started going it opened the middle back up, too.”

It didn’t start out looking like a Tonasket victory. The Fillies had plenty of success inside offensively as they rolled to a 20-9 lead after one quarter. Once the Tigers dropped back into a tightly packed zone against Bridgeport’s half court offense, the Fillies had trouble scoring, managing just 17 points in the final three quarters.

“We had to drop back into the zone; they were a lot more physical than us and we weren’t handling it well,” Larson said. “It really helped to start getting some of those transition buckets (after the defense forced turnovers), too. It builds our confidence a bunch.”

Lidi Bucio led the Fillies with 16 points, with Anita Velazquez adding 10.

Utt added 14 points for the Tigers and Megan Beyers had six.

“It wasn’t quite the balance we like,” Larson said. “But we’ll take it how we can get it. It seems like it’s a different person every night, and we know we have a few people who are capable of having big nights.”

The Tigers (3-4) take on Brewster on Thursday, Dec. 29, in the opening round of the Bears’ holiday tournament.