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PREP BASKETBALL: Crater fends off rally by GP

GRANTS PASS — After three girls basketball matchups in the spring that were each decided by five points or less, Crater felt good about Tuesday’s start against Grants Pass but certainly not comfortable.

By the end of the night, the Cavers gave the Comets good reason for concern.

Crater opened a 10-1 advantage and led 23-11 entering the final quarter of Tuesday’s nonleague game before needing to hold on in the final seconds for a 33-27 triumph.

“I never felt comfortable,” Crater head coach Scott Dippel said with a laugh. “We had to gut it out, we really did.”

The Comets (11-2), ranked No. 5 at the Class 5A level, saw their lead dwindle to one point at 28-27 with 1 1/2 minutes to go when McKenzie Hirsch was fouled and sent to the free-throw line for a one-and-one opportunity. Hirsch calmly sank both big free throws, finishing her night with 20 points, eight rebounds and three steals.

“Her hitting those two just kind of calmed everybody down,” said Dippel.

Grants Pass (6-4) saw Brooklyn Wakefield’s potential game-tying 3-pointer get tipped, but the Comets couldn’t connect on the front end of their next free throw opportunity with 18 second left. Hirsch, however, stepped in front of an ensuing long outlet to deny the next threat.

There were only six seconds left when the Cavers again had a chance to cut into their 30-27 deficit, but Abigail Winslow stole the inbounds pass and quickly converted a shot and was fouled with three seconds left.

Winslow, who was inadvertently hit in the face on the play, had to exit but Addison Dippel came on to convert the foul shot for the final outcome.

Winslow finished with six assists and three steals for Crater, while Kate Stidham played a pivotal role with her stifling defense on GP standout Brooke Anderson.

“Brooke Anderson is a fantastic player for them and Kate was just fantastic holding her to no points tonight,” said the coach of the junior Stidham, who also had five points, four rebounds and two steals. “We had to execute a difficult game plan and the communication with the other four players on the floor to help was really crucial.”

Paige Pastrell knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to open the fourth quarter and give GP hope suddenly down only 23-17, and Raegan Bruner later added another shot beyond the arc to make it 28-25 before Wakefield’s elbow jumper.

Wakefield finished with nine points while Pastrell had eight for the Cavers.

CRATER (33): Gish 0, Dippel 3, Weaver 0, Hirsch 20, Stidham 5, S. Winslow 0, McCauley 0, A. Winslow 3, A. Gugliotta 2, Traore 0. Totals: 11 8-11 33.

GRANTS PASS (27): Anderson 0, Thompson 0, Bruner 3, Pastrell 8, Mock 6, Robinson 0, B. Wakefield 9, Vainuku-Johnson 1, Tobey 1. Totals: 9 4-8 27.

Crater491010— 33

Grants Pass14616— 27

3-point goals — Crater 3 (Hirsch 2, Stidham 1), Grants Pass 5 (Bruner 1, Pastrell 2, Mock 2). Fouled out — B. Wakefield. Technical foul — Anderson.

JV score — Crater 49, Grants Pass 41

ST. MARY’S 48, ILLINOIS VALLEY 28: At Cave Junction, Ryker Rothfus scored a game-high 19 points and led St. Mary’s over Class 2A Illinois Valley in the Crusaders’ first game in over a month.

St. Mary’s (1-4) had last played on Dec. 10 and was forced to cancel a total of seven games due to low player numbers.

Maddie Ward added seven points and seven rebounds and Hannah Erickson had eight points for the Crusaders, who led 17-13 at halftime.

Freshman Jadyn Grebisz paced Illinois Valley (0-11) with nine points.

ST. MARY’S (48): Meyer 2, Mayerle 0, Emily 0, Ward 7, Rothfus 19, Erickson 8, Ashland 3, Mills 3, Mejia 6. Totals: 18 7-13 48.

ILLINOIS VALLEY (28): Miller 4, Grebisz 9, Guzman 6, Whipple 3, Podoll-Elliott 6, Box 0, Melton 0, Merrill 0, Maloney 0, Pope 0, Murphy 0, Creek 0, Merritt 0, Scott 0. Totals: 10 8-29 28.

St. Mary’s6111318— 48

Illinois Valley76411— 28

3-point goals — St. Mary’s 3 (Rothfus 1, Mills 1, Mejia 1). Fouled out — Ashland.

Boys

ILLINOIS VALLEY 64, ST. MARY’S 61: At Cave Junction, St. Mary’s had a chance to potentially send Class 2A Illinois Valley to its first loss of the season but the Cougars held form and 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds by Kayden Walker and Noah Friesen to force overtime missed the mark late Tuesday.

Walker gave the Crusaders (4-7) a fourth-quarter boost with eight of his 10 points in the final frame. Friesen finished with 19 points.

Daniel Polk led sixth-ranked Illinois Valley (11-0) with 26 points, while Starz Saavedra and Sam Hess pitched in with 14 apiece.

ST. MARY’S (61): Friesen 19, Walker 10, Haynes 4, Delplanche 9, Patel 4, Foster 7, Johnson 8. Totals: 23 4-9 61.

ILLINOIS VALLEY (64): Saavedra 14, Polk 26, Connell 0, Hess 14, Demuth 0, Williams 4, Miller 6. Totals: 24 9-19 64.

St. Mary’s 12 14 20 15— 61

Illinois Valley 11 14 22 17— 64

3-point goals — St. Mary’s 11 (Friesen 5, Walker 2, Delplanche 2, Johnson 2), Illinois Valley 7 (Polk 4, Hess 3). Fouled out — Saavedra.

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