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Grizz `D' too much for North

Grizz `D' too much for North

— —

They say the best offense is a good defense, and on a night when its offense wasn't in sync, the Ashland High girls basketball team was forced to turn to its defense. —

— With a tenacious, ball-hawking defense, the 10th-ranked Grizzlies forced 31 turnovers and rolled to a 62-34 Southern Oregon Conference victory over North Medford Friday in the Black Tornado gym. —

— The victory keeps Ashland's SOC record at a perfect 4-0, while the Black Tornado fell to 0-4. —

— I thought our defense was pretty good tonight, said Ashland coach Heather Roberts. Our press is all over the place, but our offense was doing the same. We just needed to settle down. —

— The Grizzlies' suffocating defense was evident from the opening tip, as they held North without a field goal in the opening quarter in bolting to a 14-1 lead. —

— Though its defense was doing the job in forcing North into 0-for-7 first-quarter shooting, Ashland's offense sputtered. It was 4-for-16 from the field in the opening period and 8-for-27 in the half. —

— We got a little ratbally at times, said Roberts. I think both teams were pretty wound up because of the rivalry that has been built over the past few years. —

— The Grizzlies' key weapon in the early going was senior post Chelsea Morgan, who picked up eight first-quarter points, thanks in large part to 6-for-8 foul shooting. —

— Morgan's presence on the blocks, along with fellow post Jackie Woods, played a key role in sending North starting posts, Tressa Manwaring and Ashley Nelson, to the bench with three fouls apiece before they could even work up a sweat. —

— Manwaring and Nelson could only muster seven points between them on the night, all coming in the second half. —

— That wasn't the game plan, but it worked, said Morgan, who finished with a game-high 19 points. —

— Ashland upped its halftime lead to 28-11, forcing the Tornado into 19 first-half turnovers. —

— Our girls all agreed after the game that they were tentative in attacking them (Ashland), said North first-year coach J.T. Thomas. We really don't have a reason for it. —

— As its turnovers mounted, the North offense was also finding the irons unkind, shooting a dismal 3-for-22 in the first half. —

— They're a better defensive team than offensive, said Roberts. They have struggled from the field this year. But give our defense some credit, they played pretty well. —

— We had 14 offensive rebounds and converted on only two, said Thomas. In the second half, we only had one kid pounding the boards. The turnovers didn't help us either. —

— The Tornado offense showed some signs of life in the third quarter behind the spirited play of junior wing Kara Hwang, who slashed her way to seven third-quarter points and a team-high 13 on the night. —

— She (Hwang) came out and put the load on her shoulders in the second half, said Thomas. She found it wasn't difficult to drive to the hoop, but you have to do that at every spot. —

— The fourth quarter was much of the same for the Tornado, who shot 5-for-20 in the final period. Unlike the first three periods, the Ashland offense was finding its mark. —

— Morgan powered her way to seven points in the fourth and Woods five as the Grizzlies outscored the Tornado 25-12 in the final frame. —

— I haven't been shooting a lot this season, said Morgan, who finished the night 5-for-6 from the field and 9-for-12 on free throws. I was just taking the ball hard and they (North) were fouling me. —

— You know going in you have to prepare to defend Woods and Morgan, said Thomas. In order to do that you have to move quickly. We did a good job of it at times, but you have to be consistent. —

— Woods chipped in with 14 points for Ashland, while junior wing Jessica Bullen added 10. —

— The victory was especially satisfying for the Ashland seniors and Roberts, who have been on the other end of games with the Tornado at the North gym over the past four seasons. —

— It was nice to win because our memories in this gym aren't very good, said Morgan. That really motivated us. —

ASHLAND (62)-- Morgan 19, Huyett 0, Bullen 10, Seltzer 8, Pippa 4, Woods 14, McNaught 4, Kalemkeris 3, Hargis 0. Totals: 21-54 20-29 62. —

NORTH MEDFORD (34)-- Horn 1, Jones 0, Versteeg 4, Bennett 7, Williams 0, MacLauchlan 0, Manwaring 7, Hwang 13, Allen 2, Nelson 0. Totals: 10-47 12-20 34. —

Ashland

....................14 14 10 25 -- 63 North Medford

............1 10 11 12 -- 34 —

3-point goals -- Ashland 0-7; North Medford 2-9 (Manwaring 1, Bennett 1). Fouled out -- NM: Nelson; A: Seltzer. —

JV score -- North Medford 50, Ashland 49.