Lady Bulldogs’ defense pesters Maidens in 7-point victory
RONAN — The Lady Bulldogs used a scrappy defense and a late run in the third quarter against the Maidens to give their coach something he has rarely had in his nearly 20 years of coaching at the school: a winning streak against Ronan.
The Lady Bulldogs swiped the ball 19 times and scored the final eight points in the third quarter in a 40-33 nonconference victory in Ronan Saturday. The seven-point victory was Mission’s second victory against Ronan this season — they beat the Maidens 24-15 at home in December — and their fourth victory in a row against a team who has dominated Mission coach Les Rice in his 19-year tenure at the school.
“A streak, I can’t believe it. I only have 30 more to go to be at .500. It may not be 30, but it’s close,” said Rice, whose last loss to the Maidens was a 46-41 loss in Ronan in January of 2008.
The sequel rarely lives up to the original, but the second match-up between the Lady Bulldogs and the Maidens clearly outshined their first meeting this season, where the teams combined for 90 turnovers and only shot 16 percent from the field.
“It was so much better than the last game by both teams. I mean they played a lot better and so did we ... And we talked about that all week. We need to play better. If we play as poorly as we did last time we will lose, there’s just no doubt about it,” Rice said.
The Lady Bulldogs did play better, especially in spurts — going on a 6-2 run to end the second quarter and a 8-0 run at the end of the third to go into the final frame with a 29-19 lead.
Both of the Lady Bulldogs’ end-of-the-quarter runs were punctuated with baskets by Adessa Durglo, who finished with six points on 3-of-3 shooting. Durglo ended the first half with a jump shot at the top of the key to give the Lady Bulldogs a 21-15 lead, which was the biggest lead in the closely played first half.
After going scoreless in the first five minutes of the third quarter, the Lady Bulldogs’ lead had dwindled to two points, when LaGlenn Mitchell started the 8-0 run with her only basket of the game, a layup after Mission broke the Maidens’ full-court press. Ashley Courville stole the ball and went the length court and was fouled by Nina Orozco while making a basket. Courville, who finished with five steals and four points, hit the free throw to complete the three-point play. The Lady Bulldogs’ game-clinching run ended with a Katie McDonald foul shot and a Durglo put-back.
Lady Bulldog forward Kyla Mitchell took the opening tip-off straight to the basket for two of her game-high 10 points and stayed aggressive the rest of the way, leading the Lady Bulldogs in shot attempts and free throws. The junior went 3-for-14 from the field and 4-of-11 at the line.
The Lady Bulldogs, who shot 25 percent in their first victory over Ronan, shot nearly 40 percent from the field, connecting on 13-of-32 shot from inside the arc and hitting one of their four 3-point attempts. Bella Dally ended an 0-25 drought for the Lady Bulldogs behind the 3-point line, hitting Mission’s lone 3-pointer in the game with less than a minute to play in the first quarter to cut Ronan’s lead to 11-9. Dally finished with five points and led the Lady Bulldogs with seven steals.
Katie McDonald, who finished with five points, put the Lady Bulldogs up for good with two free throws at 6:15 in the second quarter to give Mission a 13-11 lead. McDonald went 3-for-4 at the line. The Lady Bulldogs only shot 46 percent at the foul line, sinking 13 of 28 attempts. They went 7-for-13 at the line in the final quarter and connected on their last four attempts to ice the game with less than a minute to play.
Heading into the game, many of the Lady Bulldogs were sick and Rice wasn’t sure what kind of effort he was going to get from his team.
“I was really amazed at how well we played, considering how sick we were during the week. I knew we would play hard...I just didn’t know how much gas they would have in their tank,” Rice said.
Rice has been impressed with his team’s effort since a 41-23 loss in Noxon Jan. 7. Since the 18-point loss the Lady Bulldogs have won four of five games.
“I think that really helped us,” Rice said of the Noxon loss. “The girls were so disappointed in themselves...not mad at each other, but mad at themselves. I think from that point on we have certainly played better.”
With the cross-county victory, the Lady Bulldogs improved to 6-6. They face Bigfork Thursday and host Eureka Saturday in a pair of conference games.
Mission 40, Ronan 33
Mission 9 12 8 11–40
Ronan 1 14 4 11–33
MISSION - Kyla Mitchell 10, Adessa Durglo 6, Rachel Jensen 3, Katie McDonald 5, Bella Dally 5, Ashley Courville 5, Bryanna Steele 4, LaGlenn Mitchell 2.
RONAN - Tailyr Irvine 5, Ashley Grandchamp 2, Nina Orozco 9, Alice Van Gunten 2, Jonna Grant 8, Courtney Clairmont 2, Taylor Lynch 2, Shandeen Belanger 3.