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Grizzlies get their groove back, crush Mustangs

The Grizzlies’ goal was to put their previous performance behind them and they wasted no time doing so.

The Ashland High girls basketball team raced out to an 18-0 lead and cruised to a 45-31 victory over Hidden Valley on Tuesday in a nonconference game at Mountain Avenue Gym.

Four days after stumbling their way through a frustrating five-point loss to North Medford, the Grizzlies took control early and never let up to improve to 2-1 on the young season.

“We did a lot better executing tonight,” Ashland head coach Ashley Hafner said. “We kind of bounced back from a rough loss (to North Medford) where I felt that we really gave away the game, so tonight the focus was executing offensively and defensively and learning from our mistakes both from Friday and from our game tonight.”

Ashland did that thanks in part to a new starting lineup aimed at picking up the pace. Senior post Sierra Webster was thrown in with the starters for the first time this season and made the most of the opportunity by scoring a game-high 10 points. Fellow senior post Michaela Dunn added nine points, senior guard Georgia Williams eight and sophomore post Leilani Sukles and senior post McKenna Read six apiece.

The Grizzlies led 18-0 after the first quarter and 27-11 at the half before putting the game away by outscoring the Mustangs (2-1) 16-9 in the third to extend the lead to 23 points.

Hafner said Webster was the catalyst, especially on offense.

“(Webster) played awesome,” Hafner said. “She was working her butt off, grabbed lot of rebounds – she was our leading scorer mostly from rebounds and putbacks. So she’s just working really hard after getting plugged into a system with girls who have been playing together since middle school.”

Hafner said the Grizzlies executed well but, more importantly, avoided becoming stagnant on offense by passing up contested or deep shots in favor of layups and short jumpers. Defensively, Hidden Valley didn’t help its cause by settling for outside jumpers.

“They just came out ready to play for the first time this season,” Hafner said of her team. “We were attacking and started off fastbreaking. We got a lot of quick buckets, which was a momentum-killer (for Hidden Valley), I think.”

Ashland will try to build on the momentum in the first round of the Crater Basketball Invitational on Thursday. The Grizzlies will pay Mazama at the Scenic Middle School East Gym in Central Point.

HIDDEN VALLEY (31) — Krusemark 6, Heeter 5, Ottosen 5, McGuinness 4, Eells 4, Larson 3, Sarganis 2, Schiavone 2. Totals: 12 6-15 31.

ASHLAND (45) — Webster 10, Dunn 9, Williams 8, Sukles 6, Read 6, Honeycutt 2, Rooney 2, Brookins 2, Altig 0, Teixeira 0. Totals: 19 7-12 45.

Hidden Valley;0;11;9;11;—;31

Ashland;18;9;16;4;—;45

3-point goals — Hidden Valley 1 (Krusemark 1).

Boys Basketball

Ashland junior guard Walker Shibley-Styer scored 28 points, including a key 3-pointer late as the Grizzlies beat Hidden Valley 47-42 in nonconference action Tuesday at Mountain Avenue Gym.

Shibley-Styer hit six 3-pointers, including a clutch step-back with about two minutes to go that gave Ashland the lead for good.

Junior forward Dominic Meads added eight points for the Grizzlies, who improved to 2-1.

“Walker did a little bit of everything tonight,” Ashland coach Keithan Gregg said. “He’s the guy that’s in on our shooting machine practicing for hours on end, and this is the first sign that all that hard work is paying off. He really stepped up as a leader. When we needed a big shot, Walker took it and Walker made it.”

The Grizzlies play Cascade Christian on Thursday.

HIDDEN VALLEY (42) – Hults 13, May 9, Gilbert 7, Connolly 6, Elkins 5, Campbell 2, Stevens 2, Tripp 0.

ASHLAND (47) - Shibley-Styer 28, Meads 8, Malcolm 4, Feinberg 3, Jones 2, Hasskamp 2, Kennedy 0, Edson 0, Pippa 0, Ellis 0.

Hidden Valley 8 15 7 12 – 42

Ashland 15 10 8 14 – 47

3-point goals – Hidden Valley 5 (Hults 3, Connolly 2), Ashland 7 (Shibley-Styer 6, Feinberg 1).

JV result – Ashland won.

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-776-4469 or jzavala@dailytidings.com.