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Crane leads Grizz girls to road win

MERLIN — Alex Crane had a strong all-around game for Ashland and the Grizzlies defense limited North Valley to eight second-half points in handing the Knights their first loss of the season, 35-19, on Tuesday.

Crane, a 6-foot sophomore post, led the team with 12 points to go with eight blocks, eight steals and seven rebounds.

The Grizzlies (2-5) led North Valley (3-1) 13-11 at halftime.

Mya Elder-Hammond, a sophomore point guard, failed to score for Ashland but had seven steals and five assists.

ASHLAND (35): Voskes 4, Altig 8, Crane 12, Hickman 2, Miller 0, Summers 0, Hayes 7, Elder-Hammond 0, Kolar 0, Rooney 2. Totals: 13 6-12 35.

NORTH VALLEY (19): Banuelos 2, Stewart 6, Otteson 2, Rau 4, Hall 5, Kersten 0, Huff 0. Totals: 7 4-13 19.

Ashland;5;8;9;13;—;35

North Valley;6;5;1;7;—;19

3-point goals — Ashland 3 (Altig 2, Hayes 1) North Valley 1 (Hall 1). Fouled out — Crane.

JV score — Ashland 40, North Valley 33.

College Football

Julius Rucker, Southern Oregon University's junior safety, on Tuesday was named to the 25-person American Football Coaches' Association NAIA All-America first team.

Rucker, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound product of Portland's Westview High, is the 13th Raider in program history to become an All-American defender and the sixth defender named to the first team. He joins Nathan Mart (2000) and Nick Danicken (2002) as SOU's only first-team defensive backs.

Last year's NAIA championship defensive player of the game, Rucker spilled that momentum into his third season to compile a team-high 92 tackles, including 73 solo and four for losses. He's broken up nine passes, intercepted one, forced a fumble and brought a 94-yard fumble recovery to the house for his second touchdown as a Raider.

For his career, Rucker has 201 tackles and seven interceptions. He established a career-high with 14 tackles in SOU's season-opener at Carroll.

The AFCA has selected an All-American team every year since 1945. SOU was represented by four All-American's last year: player of the year Austin Dodge, Daniel Breaux, Drew Gibson and Dylan Young, all of whom graduated.

Also representing the Frontier Conference on the first team were Carroll offensive lineman Josh James, Montana Tech running back Nolan Saraceni, Montana Western defensive back AJ Wilson and College of Idaho defensive back Nate Moore. On the second team were Rocky Mountain receiver Andre McCullouch, Eastern Oregon receiver/tailback Jace Billingsley and Rocky kicker Evan Connolly.

Women’s Basketball

At Seaside, Calif., trailing by five points near the end of Tuesday night’s third quarter, the Southern Oregon women’s basketball team staged a 16-0 run that didn’t end until midway through the fourth to defeat Cal State Monterey Bay, 69-62, and match the best start in program history.

Ashley Claussen scored a game-high 21 points in the nonleague affair, and Tiani Bradford logged career-highs of 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting, eight rebounds and four steals. Bradford scored eight points, including consecutive 3-pointers, during the decisive rally.

At 9-0 overall, the Raiders have matched the 2009-10 team for SOU’s best start of all-time. They can surpass that squad when they return to Cascade Conference play this Saturday at Evergreen State and Sunday at Northwest.

With Carly Meister limited by foul trouble to nine minutes and Claussen laboring through her toughest shooting night of the year (7-for-21), Tuesday marked the first time since their second game of the season that the Raiders won by less than 18 points.

CSUMB, an NCAA Div. II opponent, led 50-45 when Mykayla Harris made a pair of free throws with 1:32 left in the third quarter. The Otters didn’t score again until Victoria Dean’s triple cut SOU’s lead to 61-53 with 4:41 remaining, going a total of 7:44 without a field goal.

The Otters ended up 36 percent from the floor (22-for-61) – becoming the seventh SOU foe this season to stay under 40 – and were forced into 20 turnovers.

Claussen also had four of the Raiders’ 14 steals. Courtney Setzer came off the bench to record eight points and four rebounds, and Autumn Durand had five points, nine boards and two steals.

The Otters were led by reserve Brianna Tucker’s 14 points. McKenna Hill had 11 points and five rebounds.