TONASKET – First-year Tonasket girls basketball coach Mike Larson got his team playing the style he wants Saturday night. The reward was a fast-paced, if low-scoring, 32-31 victory over Oroville that delivered the Tigers’ coach his first victory and had Oroville coach Mike Bourn frustrated just 24 hours into the new season.
The Tigers had lost by 17 points to Pateros on Thursday, but Larson saw immediate improvement in his team’s second game.
“It was night and day,” he said. “We did a much better job of executing our full court press. We want to play fast, and we’ll take what comes with that. We got the shots we wanted to. We didn’t hit as many as we’d like, but we made enough.”
The Tigers quickly established the pace they wanted and broke out to a 14-6 lead late in the first quarter. Kelsey Hughes hit back-to-back 3-pointers to get the Hornets back in it, and from then on the Tigers never led by more than five points.
Despite that, the Hornets led only once the whole game, after Sierra Speiker’s 3-pointer with 2:45 left put Oroville ahead 29-28.
The Hornets’ lead didn’t last, though, as Devan Utt regained the lead with an inside basket with 1:45 remaining, and after an Oroville turnover, Megan Beyers’ hoop made it 32-29.
Hughes scored with 36 seconds left, to make it a one-point game. But the two teams combined for three turnovers in the next 30 seconds, and after Oroville ended up with the ball with three seconds left, Hughes was unable to get off a potential game-winner before the buzzer.
“We weren’t focused at all,” said Oroville coach Mike Bourn. “I could tell we weren’t focused before the game, and we definitely weren’t during the game. They came right out and exposed our lack of conditioning and focus.”
The Hornets (1-1) also struggled to contain Utt inside as she scored six points in the first quarter and six more in the third and led the Tigers with 14 points.
“We talked at halftime about coming out and fronting their post,” Bourn said. “So we went right out there and stood in there behind her, and she made us pay for it. If you can’t be focused when you play your rival, I don’t know when you can be.”
Hughes led all scorers with 18, but only Speiker (5) added more than four points to the Hornets’ scoring column.
Beyers added eight points for the Tigers (1-1).
Oroville 54, Republic 46
OROVILLE – The Hornets started their season off with a victory Friday, Dec. 2, as they built a 10-point first quarter lead and went on to beat Republic 54-46.
Kelsey Hughes scored all but one of her 19 points on six 3-pointers, including a pair of treys in the first quarter as the Hornets went up 16-6.
Katie Tietje added 11, Briana Moralez had eight and four players chipped in with four points apiece.
Republic got 17 points each from Jules Largent and Alyssa Stout, but only 12 points from the rest of their team.
Pateros 53, Tonasket 36
PATEROS – The Pateros Nannies opened up a double-digit lead in the first quarter on the way to a 53-36 victory over the Tigers in the season-opener for both teams on Thursday, Dec. 1.
The Nannies took control by shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor (24-of-53), while the Tigers were just 15-of-56. Pateros got many of its points of fast break layups, especially early on as Tonasket tried to sort out its full court press.
“We got the shots we wanted,” Larson said. “We just couldn’t hit them.
“Defensively, well, it’s all about habits. These girls have never had to press before. It’s a totally new concept for them. So it’s going to take a bit for them to get it, and I know they will.”
Chancy Gill poured in 19 points Rhiannon Easter scored 12 and Kim Vazquez added 10 to pace Pateros.
The Tigers’ Devan Utt scored 19 points, with Megan Beyers adding nine.