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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Comets kick into gear at Ashland

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Big second, third quarters propel No. 6 Crater past Ashland

ASHLAND — For the opening eight minutes at Mountain Avenue Gym, there wasn’t much separating Crater and Ashland on the scoreboard.

Despite the Grizzlies’ best efforts, the Comets looked more and more like themselves as Tuesday night’s game went on.

Thanks to back-to-back 26-point quarters, No. 6-ranked Crater was able to take a comfortable lead into halftime and only extend it from there, running away with an 82-26 win over Ashland in Midwestern League action.

“I think we just moved the ball, shared the ball a lot better,” said Crater head coach Scott Dippel of what changed in the second quarter. “That second quarter, we started keeping some balls alive and then that kind of elevated our energy.”

Crater (9-2, 3-0 MWL), which has won six of its last seven games, got a game-high 19 points from sophomore guard Abigail Winslow, one of two Comets to finish in double figures.

Winslow did a lot of her damage early, scoring Crater’s first eight points to help the Comets build an early 8-2 lead.

Much to their credit, the Grizzlies (1-8, 0-2) were able to hang around, cutting it to a 16-9 deficit right before the end of the first quarter on junior Abbey Lambert’s 3-pointer from the right wing.

“We played a good first half and (Crater) still had a lead on us, but it was one of the better games that we’ve played and one of the better quarters we’ve had with the first quarter,” said Ashland head coach Antione Perry. “The girls came out and played really hard. We had a few turnovers and we made some bad passes, but they were making the right decisions with trying those passes. The girls played hard and I was pretty happy with them.”

Crater took control in the second quarter, using a 7-0 run started by a Kayleigh Gugliotta corner 3-pointer and Chase Weaver basket in the paint to get the lead back into double digits at 23-9.

The lead only grew from there, with the Comets outscoring the Grizzlies 26-10 to take a 42-19 lead into the break.

“We just stayed really active — even when we were in the halfcourt, getting deflections and then sharing the ball in transition,” said Dippel. “That continued into the third quarter. I thought we did a nice job rebounding, getting outlets, turning that into transition lay-ins. I was just happy with everybody and the energy on the bench — the energy on the floor was definitely up in those two quarters.”

Lambert scored 10 points to pace Ashland, while senior Gabby Heiken added seven points.

Gugliotta also finished in double figures for the Comets with 12 points and McKenzie Hirsch added four assists and two steals.

Crater senior Kate Stidham had six points, five rebounds and six assists in her 2021-22 season debut after missing the first 10 games with a broken arm. Weaver and Sage Winslow both had six points and six steals apiece, while Lydia Traore added eight points off the bench.

“It was nice to have Kate back — she brings a lot of energy and toughness,” said Dippel. “I think that also helps other kids get into their more natural positions. So, not having her the first 10 games, it’s nice having her back.”

Crater and Ashland both return to the court on the road Friday night. The Comets will face seventh-ranked Springfield (7-3, 2-0), while the Grizzlies take on Churchill (4-4, 0-2).

“We’ve got to continue to share the ball — especially in the halfcourt — to get ourselves open shots,” said Dippel. “I don’t worry about our defensive intensity, I think we can play hard all the time, but against those kinds of teams you have to be able to execute every possession and take care of the ball.”

CRATER (82): K. Gugliotta 12, Sizemore 6, Gish 3, Dippel 2, Weaver 6, Hirsch 2, Stidham 6, S. Winslow 6, McCauley 5, A. Winslow 19, Vranes 2, A. Gugliotta 5, Traore 8, Idiart 0. Totals: 38 2-4 82.

ASHLAND (26): Montgomery 0, Sayre 0, Lambert 10, Caruso 0, G. Carter 0, Jenkins 2, Heiken 7, L. Carter 0, Robinson 4, Pokrob 3. Totals: 11 2-7 26.

Crater16262614— 82

Ashland91025— 26

3-point goals — Crater 7 (K. Gugliotta 2, Gish 1, McCauley 1, Vranes 1, A. Gugliotta 2), Ashland 2 (Lamber 1, Heiken 1).

JV result — Crater won.

EAGLE POINT 45, NORTH VALLEY 23: At Eagle Point, after North Valley scored the first four points of the contest, Eagle Point carried through the first half on a 25-1 run en route to a nonleague victory.

Without injured starters Haley McCornack and Kylie Balero, the Eagles (3-6) were still able to shoot the ball well while clamping down on defense to turn steals into quick transition baskets.

Junior guard Morgan Dole paced the Eagles, who have won three of their last four games, with 11 points, senior guard Emilee Nielsen dropped in seven points and junior forward Alondra Cabrera tallied six points and seven rebounds.

NORTH VALLEY (23): Moore 10, Wheeler 3, Godfrey 2, Touey 8, Cooke 0, Hawkins 0, Schrock 0, Fagert 0, Champion 0. Totals: 10 3-9 23.

EAGLE POINT (45): Dole 11, Nielsen 7, Hanan 2, Baldwin 6, Pena 4, Munoz 6, Cabrera 6, Schauffler 2, Lindstrom 1, Raber 0. Totals: 12 12-18 45.

North Valley41810— 23

Eagle Point1312119— 45

3-point goals — Eagle Point 3 (Dole 1, Munoz 2).

JV result — Eagle Point won.

WILLAMETTE 55, GRANTS PASS 39: At Eugene, Grants Pass sophomore Brooke Anderson scored 15 points but the Cavers fell to Class 5A’s top-ranked team in unbeaten Willamette.

Anderson added five rebounds, four assists and three steals for Grants Pass (5-3), while sophomore Brooklyn Wakefield had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Maddy Warberg, a freshman wing, led Willamette (8-0) with 18 points, all of which came on her six 3-pointers. Willamette finished with 12 3s in the game.

GRANTS PASS (39): Anderson 15, Thompson 0, Bruner 2, K. Wakefield 0, Pastrell 0, Mock 3, B. Wakefield 14, Vainuku-Johnson 5, Mizer 0, Tobey 0. Totals: 8 8-11 39.

WILLAMETTE (55): Morris 4, Warberg 18, Nguyen 12, Smith 17, Wagner 0, Marshall 2, Hopkins 0, Johnson 0, Ireland 0. Totals: 20 1-1 55.

Grants Pass57918— 39

Willamette1718128— 55

3-point goals — Grants Pass 5 (Anderson 1, Mock 1, B. Wakefield 3), Willamette 12 (Warberg 6, Nguyen 2, Smith 4).

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Kate Stidham steals the ball from Ashland's Kendra Caruso during the second quarter.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Abigail Winslow blocks the shot of Ashland's Mary Montgomery during the first quarter.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Chase Weaver shoots for two points during the second quarter.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneAshland's Abbey Lambert shoots for three points during the first quarter.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Kate Stidham shoots for two points during the second quarter.