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Comets wake up, beat Indians Defense fuels comeback win, 52-37

CENTRAL POINT-- After an uninspired first half, Crater High girls basketball coach David Heard had some well-chosen words for his players.

I stressed to them a sense of urgency to play better in the second half, said Heard. I told them if they want to accomplish their goals, they couldn't afford to lose their first league game.

Heard's players got the message.

Crater turned on its defensive intensity with a full-court trapping press that forced 11 Roseburg turnovers during the final 16 minutes, and the Comets piled up 29 second-half points on the way to a 52-37 win Tuesday night in the Southern Oregon Conference opener for both teams in the Crater gym.

I told the girls to wake up and come ready to play in the second half, said Heard. We didn't come ready for the first half, and I'm not sure why. I'm still getting to know these kids.

But once the Comets got untracked in the third quarter, they turned a 29-27 deficit into a 40-29 lead with 6:05 left in the game on a 13-0 run.

We tightened up our defense and played the way I expected us to in the first half, said Heard.

Crater improved to 5-1 overall. Roseburg fell to 4-2.

The bottom line is we're 1-and-0 in the league, said Heard. But I still don't understand why we were picked to win the league championship over Ashland.

After seeing us tonight, I still feel that way. Ashland has three all-league players returning, and we're very young.

We may be better next year when we have everybody back from this team. But right now, we're playing for this year and we need to get better fast.

Sarah Pool and Amy Denson both scored eight points to lead the Comets. Jody McLeod scored seven for the Comets.

Heard said the play of sophomores Addie Wiersma and Brandi Hall ignited the Comets' second-half run.

They were both ready to play, and they gave us energy off the bench, said Heard. They set the tone for us, and the others picked it up.

We didn't execute in the first half, and we didn't play very hard, said Wiersma. Our intensity got a lot better in the second half.

Crater fell behind the Indians 21-13 with just under five minutes left in the second quarter.

I knew we would finally come out strong and win this, said Hall. We weren't that scared of losing, but we weren't happy with the way we were playing. It was a struggle.

Hall and Janell Sapienza started Crater's 13-0 run in the second half with back-to-back 3-point plays. Sapienza followed up with a 3-point field goal to give the Comets nine straight points and a 36-29 advantage.

Denson added a 16-foot jump shot and Wiersma scored on a twisting layup to give the Comets a 40-29 lead with 6:05 left in the game.

Sarah Gilding, a 6-foot-1 point guard, hit a 10-foot baseline jump shot and converted two free throws to give the Indians a 21-13 lead.

But Crater answered with eight straight points to tie the score at 21. Pool hit an 18-foot jump shot, and McLeod then scored six straight points on three field goals. She banked in a 10-foot shot, followed with a transition layup, and finished the Comets' run with two free throws to tie the score at 21.

Lindsey Heard, cousin of David Heard, scored five points.

ROSEBURG (37)-- Goodell 8, O'rne 2, Bradburn 4, Heard 5, Bartholomew 0, Burmeister 4, Hansen 6, Fisiikava 0, Gilding 8.

Totals: 15-39 4-6 37.

CRATER (52)-- Chase 0, Yager 3, Hemphill 6, Pool 8, Sapienza 6, McLeod 7, Wiersma 5, Hall 5, Denson 8, Johnson 4. Totals: 20-48 10-12 52.

Roseburg

................14 9 6 8 -- 37 Crater

................11 12 10 19 -- 52

3-point field goals -- Roseburg — (Goodell 2). Crater 2 (Yager 1, Sapienza 1.)

JV score: Roseburg 45, Crater 28.

Photo by Drew Fleming Jody McLeod (33) gets ready to muscle up a shot against three Indians.