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Grizz holds off South for 10th straight win

ASHLAND ' Through injuries and sickness, the Ashland High girls basketball team just keeps finding ways to win.

The Grizzlies used a zone defense, timely outside shooting and the breakout game of a freshman to overcome a much taller South Medford squad Friday en route to a 50-45 Southern Oregon Conference win at Mountain Avenue gym.

The victory was Ashland's 10th straight and improved the Grizzlies to 3-0 in league play, while South fell to 2-9 and 0-2 in the SOC.

The Panthers rode their superior size to a 10-7 lead after one quarter and took a 15-9 lead early in the second before Ashland made a key defensive switch that turned the tide.

— It was obvious to me that their game plan was to go inside to their posts, Grizz coach Steve Humann said, and we've been having problems with that, so we went to a 2-3 zone.

The result was a series of miscues and missed shots by South that fed a 13-4 Grizzly run to end the half. The momentum carried into the second half, when Ashland outscored South 23-11 in an eight-minute span to take a commanding 45-32 lead.

The Panthers whittled the deficit to four with 16 seconds left but threw the ball away on their last possession ' a fitting end to a sloppy game.

We just had too many turnovers, South coach Andrea Jaime said.

Jaime was right. The Panthers finished with 23 gaffes, which proved to be one of the tipping points in a contest highlighted by two physical defenses and poor shooting by both teams.

Ashland hit just 16 of 50 field goal attempts and turned the ball over 15 times, while South made just 19 of 52 shots. But the Grizzlies, who also lost the rebounding battle, 31-28, made up for their poor field goal shooting with solid free throw shooting, nailing 16 of 21 from the charity stripe to South's 5-for-10 effort.

Ashland benefited from a coming out party of sorts. Freshman post Whitney Chase, who started in place of injured starter Jamie Roupp, played most of the game and finished with six rebounds and 10 points, including a key baseline jumper that burned South's sagging defense midway through the fourth.

My teammates just told me before game, 'You're going to do fine, don't be nervous,' but I was a little nervous, Chase said.

Ashland junior guard Hilary Huyett, playing through a cold, led the Grizzlies with a game-high 23 points and three assists, while fellow junior guard Alysse Carlson added 11 points and five assists.

Huyett did most of her damage from the free throw line, where she hit 10 of 11.

Grizz sophomore forward Tess Golling was a thorn in the Panthers' side all night, finishing with nine steals and five rebounds, while junior post Abeni Hill pulled down a team-high 12 boards.

South junior guard Katie Singler and junior center Brittany Farrer each scored nine points, while junior guard Casey Martin and sophomore guard Breanna Banuelos each tallied eight.

Huyett's inside bucket with 4:30 left in the second quarter kicked off a 9-2 run that gave the Grizzlies their first lead of the game, 18-17.

A 3-pointer by Carlson capped that surge and brought the crowd to its feet. Moments later Hill, muscled in a rebound putback, leading to a South Medford timeout.

Ashland scored seven straight early in the third quarter to go up 29-21 and never led by less than three points the rest of the way.

South didn't go down quietly. The Panthers outscored Ashland 11-2 in a frantic 4&

189; -minute stretch to get within four. Singler's — with 16 seconds left made it 49-45, but Huyett answered by making one of two free throws at the other end to cap the scoring.

SOUTH MEDFORD (45) ' Corbin 5, Martin 8, Banuelos 8, Grant 2, Singler 9, Towry 4, Farrer 9. Totals: 19-52 5-10 45.

ASHLAND (50) ' Chase 10, Huyett 23, Golling 0, Carlson 11, Hill 4, Thivierge 2, Thompson 0. Totals: 16-50 16-21 50.

South Medford............................10 9 13 13 ' 45

Ashland.......................................7 15 17 11 ' 50

3-point goals ' South Medford 2 (Corbin 1, Singler 1), Ashland 2 (Carlson 1, Huyett 1).

Joe Zavala is sports editor of the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at 482-3456.