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Bruins snap Raiders' streak

George Fox ruins SOU bid for Classic title

ASHLAND

-- After dominating the first half with her inside presence, all George Fox University junior wing Katie Greller could do for most of the second half was watch from the sidelines and cheer her teammates on.

But Greller made her brief second-half playing time count, as she converted the deciding basket in the Bruins' 60-56 victory over Southern Oregon in the championship contest of the Stratford Inn Classic on Saturday night at McNeal Pavilion.

George Fox's victory snapped the Raiders' 12-game home court winning streak and ended the Raiders' quest for a fourth-straight Stratford Inn crown. The home loss was only the Raiders' third in the last three seasons at McNeal Pavilion.

We've got a lot of heart on this team, said George Fox coach Scott Rueck, whose team improved to 4-0. Our defense and hustle really paid off tonight. I'm learning not to underestimate them.

A combination of Greller's offense and both teams' defenses set the tone in the first half. Neither team set the nets on fire in the opening 20 minutes. George Fox combined for 38 percent shooting, while the Raiders (5-3) shot a paltry 39 percent, but it was the Bruins who walked into the locker room at the half with a 30-25 lead behind Greller's 11 points.

We just struggled the whole time, said Southern Oregon coach Shirley Huyett. We were just trying to find anything in our offense that worked.

When Greller went to the bench early in the second half, the Bruins appeared to be in charge with a 39-31 lead. But without Greller's inside play, a pair of Southern Oregon freshmen started to turn the tide in the Raiders' favor.

Glendale High graduate Liz Bresnan and Crater High graduate Emily Wiley spurred the Raiders on a 9-0 run to take a 45-41 lead. Bresnan, who swiped six steals in the second half to finish the night with seven, was a thorn in the Bruins' side.

Bresnan's play helped Wiley convert all seven of her points during the run. Wiley also finished with a team-high seven rebounds.

Liz played a great game and Emily did a nice job of getting to the boards, said Huyett. The two of them played really well when we needed them to.

We were a little shaky during that point of the game, said Rueck. You knew they (Southern Oregon) were going to make runs. Our job was to answer the runs and we did that.

George Fox's key ingredient to stopping the Raider runs was sophomore guard Nicole Prazeau. The Central Catholic graduate converted a game-high 20 points, including 15 in the second half.

She was rested and had her energy saved up, said Rueck of Prazeau, whose foul trouble kept her out of most of Friday's win over Western Baptist. She has a lot of talent and she really came to play tonight. Actually, the foul trouble helped us out tonight.

Even with Prazeau slicing to the basket at will, the Raiders still clung to a 52-50 lead with 2:51 to play. After a Prazeau free throw, Southern Oregon's Kara Magee-Arick put the lead back to three with 1:28 on the clock. Then Prazeau answered with a clutch 3-pointer to tie the score at 54 with 1:17 to go.

That set the stage for Greller.

After a Raider turnover, Greller took an entry pass, drove to the basket and powered the ball into the basket over Sarah Petersen, who also fouled Greller on the play with 33 seconds left. Greller converted the 3-point play and the damage was done.

It was amazing, you dream of shots like that, said Greller. It was frustrating sitting on the bench. I knew I had to make the last five minutes count.

Southern Oregon kept its hopes alive when Melissa England cut the lead to one, 57-56, on a driving layup with 19 seconds to play. But after a George Fox free throw, Raider point guard Ali Richards missed a short runner with seven seconds to play and a chance to send the game into overtime.

Prazeau sealed the contest and the championship with two free throws.

You do everything you need to do, but don't finish, said Huyett. Those things are going to happen. If Ali has 10 more of those shots I'd bet she would make nine.

GEORGE FOX (60)-- Prazeau 5-12 7-8 20, Heuberger 2-3 2-3 4, Barram 1-2 0-0 2, Stocking 0-3 0-0 0, Thompson 1-4 1-2 4, K. Greller 6-14 4-5 16, T. Greller 2-7 0-1 6, Freeman 0-7 0-0 0, Santos 0-0 0-0 0, Clark 2-3 0-0 4. Totals -- 19-55 14-19 60.

SOUTHERN OREGON (56)-- Bresnan 1-6 7-8 9, Merritt 1-3 2-2 4, Mohan 2-6 2-4 7, Stanford 2-3 0-0 4, Richards 2-7 0-0 4, England 3-5 0-0 7, Magee-Arick 0-4 0-0 0, Tangedahl 4-8 0-0 8, Nunley 1-1 0-1 2, Petersen 2-10 0-2 4, Wiley 2-5 3-4 7. Totals: 20-58 14-21 56.

Halftime score-- George Fox 30, Southern Oregon 25. 3-point field goals -- George Fox: Prazeau 3-6, Heuberger 2-3, Stocking 0-1, T. Greller 2-6, Freeeman 0-3, Clark 0-1; Southern Oregon: Mohan 1-4, Magee-Arick 0-2, Richards 0-1, England 1-1, Bresnan 0-3. Rebounds -- George Fox: 39 (T. Greller, Prazeau 8), Southern Oregon: 42 (Wiley 7). Assists -- George Fox: 16 (Prazeau 6), Southern

Oregon: 15 (Richards 4). Team Fouls-- George Fox 22, Southern Oregon 22. Fouled out -- Freeman, England. A -- 600.

Photo by Drew Fleming Alison Richards of Southern Oregon drives the lane Saturday against George Fox. - for the Mail Tribune