On Dec. 29 the Wallowa varsity girls basketballers broke into the win column with a 41-33 victory over Elgin at the Wallowa Lion's Tournament.

"I'm really happy for the girls," said WHS head coach Dave Hassler, "It was a hard-fought and deserved win. It's one more step in our progress as a team."

It was a game that went Wallowa's way from the start. When Elgin took the tip, the Cougars kept the pressure on and brought down the board and turned it back upcourt for an Olivia Soares three. Elgin players never saw a lead throughout the rest of the game. A brief 30-30 tie in the fourth period was the closest they came.

In a physical game with numerous fouls - 38 in all - WHS found its shot was falling.

"We were 37 percent on our field goals for the game," Hassler noted. "Elgin was 22 percent. We didn't shoot as much as we usually do, but they were high quality shots - though we didn't get a couple of little bunnies to go."

It was a team game, with 10 assists on 15 baskets, Hassler said. Sophomore Josi Makens had three of those assists in the second period. Scoring was balanced from inside and outside, with the posts totaling 17 points, ditto the wings.

There were a few defensive fumbles, but overall Hassler is pleased with WHS's ability to control an opponent's ability to score.

"We got out-rebounded again," Hassler noted. "Elgin was very physical, and that's what kept the game close." On the plus side, the girls had 10 steals over the course of the game. "We're creating turnovers with our press," he said.

Makens had six rebounds during the game, Caitlin Turner five and Chelsea Frei four. Emily Isley and Frei led the Cougars in scoring with nine points each, though scoring was even over much of the roster. Elgin's Brittany Beedle led overall scoring with 10 points.

Wallowa will travel to Jordan Valley Friday, then returns home to face Cove at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

"Now they count," Hassler said of his team's upcoming games. "From this point on it's a dogfight and any dog can come out on top ... and I'm hoping it's a cat."

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