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Grizzlies contain Gregory, trip Eagles

ASHLAND -- Eagle Point superstar Becky Gregory has beaten teams virtually single-handedly this season, but the senior guard found herself surrounded by a bunch of hungry Grizzlies on Friday night.

The Ashland Grizzlies, badly needing a win to stay in the state playoff hunt, used a balanced scoring attack and tracked Gregory all over the court on the way to a 68-64 Southern Oregon Conference victory.

Gregory, the SOC's leading scorer, managed 17 points but Ashland sophomore Chelsea Morgan matched that total and freshman Hanna Seltzer came off the bench to contribute 15 points and slap on some tough defense on the EP standout.

The Grizzlies also got strong performances from freshman post Jackie Woods, who generated 12 points and six rebounds, and sophomore Jenny Pippa, who had nine points and 12 assists.

Pippa and Seltzer took turns guarding Gregory.

Every night it's a different kid stepping up for us, Ashland coach Heather Roberts said. We've had six different kids lead us in scoring.

The Grizzlies improved to 7-6 in the SOC (9-8 overall) and moved into a fourth-place tie with Klamath Union with three games to play. Eagle Point fell to 7-5 in conference play (11-8 overall).

Morgan and Seltzer were Ashland's big guns Friday. Morgan, a 5-foot-8 sophomore, bombed in four 3-pointers against the Eagles' zone defense, while the cat-quick Seltzer hit one 3-pointer, swished a couple of mid-range shots and made several layups off the fastbreak.

Seltzer also had four steals and two assists.

The victory was especially gratifying to Seltzer, who had a tough outing when the Grizzlies lost to Eagle Point earlier this season.

We had just moved her up to varsity, Roberts said. Gregory ate her up and really intimidated her. But Hanna was ready tonight. She's been fired up for this game all week.

In a game that featured five ties, six lead changes and was deadlocked 47-47 after three quarters, Ashland finally went in front for good early in the final period.

Woods, a 6-footer with good jumping ability, took a pass from Pippa and scored on a layup that put Ashland in front 49-48 with 7:17 to play.

Morgan followed with her fourth 3-pointer of the night 51 seconds later that gave the Grizzlies a 52-48 advantage. But the Eagles hung tough throughout.

In fact, Eagle Point had a chance to tie the game, trailing 61-59 with just under two minutes to play. But Morgan came up with a steal and filtered a nice pass to Woods, who buried a 16-footer from the left side.

On the Eagles' next possession, Sunny Crandall was called for an illegal screen attempting to free up Gregory. Pippa hit a free throw at the other end, extending Ashland's lead to 64-59 with 1:05 remaining.

Seltzer and Pippa each added two free throws in the final 36 seconds to keep the Eagles at bay.

They really keyed on Gregory and she got a little tired, Eagle Point coach Dan Swanson said. They did a good job of defending her and some of our kids got tentative when we fell behind in the fourth quarter.

The Grizzlies were anything but tentative at the free throw line, hitting 12 of 14 in the fourth period and 19 of 26 for the game.

We've been putting the girls in pressure situations in practice at the free throw line, Roberts said. We make them run when they miss and some days we don't leave the gym until we make 10 in a row as a team. One day we spent an extra 45 minutes completing that task.

Ashland's task now is to win its final three games and advance to the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Grizzlies close the season with games against South Medford, Mazama and Grants Pass.

ASHLAND (68) --Morgan 17, Seltzer 15, Woods 12, Wilhelm 6, Pippa 9, Cooley 4, McNaught 5, Ruth 0. Totals: 22 19-26 68.

EAGLE POINT (66) --Gregory 17, Happel 13, Damon 11, Roth 9, Crandall 9, Ford 5, Smith 0. Totals: 22 21-32.

Eagle Point 18 14 17 17 -- 64

Ashland 16 15 16 21 -- 68

3-point goals -- Eagle Point — (Gregory 1), Ashland 5 (Morgan 4, Seltzer 1). Fouled out -- Woods.

Ashland's Chelsea Morgan (left) and Eagle Point's Dusty Damon scramble for a loose ball as the Grizzlies avenged an earlier SOC loss. - Photo by Andy Atkinson