Lady Grizzlies beat Riverhawks in thriller
By Garrett Faylor sports writer
The term rivalry probably gets tossed around too much in this town.
Any time one team within a 30-mile radius faces off with another, all the sudden theyâre fierce rivals, enemies, nemeses â not always true.
But there is something that comes from outbattling your neighbors, pride maybe.
In any case the Ridgeline-Logan girls basketball game Tuesday had the very real, electric feel of that in-valley rivalry; pride was on the line.
In the two teamsâ first meeting, Logan â entering the night as a three-win team â jumped out in front of Ridgeline â entering the night as a two-loss team â and had chance after chance to put the neon-green-clad Riverhawks away.
Ridgeline clawed and clawed its way back into it, even tying the game with less than a minute to go, but Logan hit three very important free throws to win the game, 49-46.
âI was terrified,â said Kira Peterson who shot the final four free throws and made three. âAt the same time, I was super ready. We lost to them during the summer by two free throws, so I was ready to finally maybe bring it back. I was excited but super scared.â
Peterson led all scorers with 20 points. She scored six of the Grizzliesâ nine points in the fourth quarter.
âThat was crazy,â Peterson said. âWe knew coming into it, it was going to be a hard game, but man that was a hard game.â
Mia Marin put the Grizzlies (4-8, 1-0 Region 11) on the board to start the game with a deep 3-point shot from the volleyball line that sits between the 3-point arc and the halfcourt line.
After Marin scored, Ridgelineâs Ashlee Buist hit her only shot of the game. Four minutes later, Buist fell to the ground after a scrum for a rebound under Ridgelineâs basket. Buist stayed down for a while, and when she was helped off the court, she was unable to put any pressure on her leg. She didnât return to the game.
From that point on Logan used a 13-2 run to extend its lead to 20-7 at the 6:55 mark of the second quarter.
âI feel like we could have played better,â said Ridgelineâs Ashley Nielsen, who scored a season-high 18 points. âWe had our moments, and we kind of dug ourselves into a hole and climbing back was quite the event for us.â
Logan led 29-18 at the half. Then Nielsen came out and delivered a stellar third quarter to bring Ridgeline (7-3, 0-1) to within five points, 40-35, after three quarters.
Nielsen scored 10 of Ridgelineâs 17 points in the third. She started the quarter off with an offensive rebound and scored, then grabbed a steal and took it in for a layup.
âFrom the very beginning Logan just kind of got on a roll and hit good shots,â Ridgeline head coach Ainsli Jenks said. âThey played well. They came to play, and it just mentally broke us down a little bit. But I think my girls showed some tenacity like, âHey, weâre not giving up, weâre going to keep fighting.â It took us a while, and like I said, itâs hard to dig all game long.â
In the fourth quarter, Peterson led off with a triple. Shaylee Anderson split a pair of free throws to put the Grizzlies up 44-35 with 5:09 left. It seemed that at any moment Logan could finally put the game away.
But Nielsen scored again, Tyanna Doran stole a ball that led to an Emma Anderson 3, then Anderson hit two free throws to bring the game within two with 2:36 to go.
âObviously those last minutes of the game were exciting,â Jenks said. âI feel like our girls stepped up defensively and decided, âOh wait, we are in this game,â and mentally tried to check in a little bit. But itâs tough when youâre digging a hole.â
After a Logan five-second violation, Bailie Crosbie tied the game at 46 with two free throws with 56.9 to go. Peterson hit her first of the three free throws to regain the lead, but shortly after, the Grizzlies got called for an over-and-back violation and turned the ball over again. Ridgeline got to the line but missed two free throws, and Anderson grabbed the rebound that led to Petersonâs final free throws.
âThere was a lot on the plate tonight,â Logan head coach Josh Zentner said. âWe knew that. We took it as we were 0-0 with the opportunity to go 1-0. I think this is the start to a big rivalry. It will be the same type of game at Ridgeline, but to start 1-0 in region is exactly where we want to be. I canât be more happy and proud of the girls.â
Sharron Wallace had a strong night for the Grizzlies with nine points and eight rebounds.
Bailie Crosbie joined Nielsen in double digits with 10 points.