The WHS varsity girls lost 46-21 to the Imbler Panthers at home Friday, but turned it around and edged Adrian on the road 44-41 Saturday evening, and are now 1-7 in Old Oregon League basketball play.
Imbler was "definitely an opportunity that we squandered," said WHS girls head coach Dave Hassler.
Following an almost non-start in the first period, Wallowa scoring only two points, the Cougars came back to contest the game in the second and third periods, but were outshot as the fourth quarter ran down.
"The goal was to hold them to 10 points a quarter, which we did for three and a half quarters," Hassler said. The bulk of Imbler's 17 points came in the late fourth period, Hassler said.
"We played a triangle-and-two zone and it befuddled them, but we just couldn't make a basket," Hassler said. The exceptions being an aggressive Chelsea Frei and Olivia Soares, who had 11 and six points respectively for WHS.
WHS junior Caitlin Turner "did a wonderful job on defense," Hassler said. Turner pulled down 10 rebounds against Imbler, two of them offensive boards.
For the Panthers, Emily Westover led scoring for both her team and the game, with 15 points, backed up by another 14 from Mndry Griffin. Appearances at the line didn't make the day any easier for Wallowa, with the Cougars going 6-for-8, and the Panthers a disproportionate 14-for-26.
"We were still in the game in the third, but things just got out of hand," Hassler said.
Against host Adrian, WHS moved to a 2-3 zone and showed some effective defense. "It (the defense) really helped us find our offensive stride in the second half," Hassler said.
Following a half-time talk, the Cougars took the floor down 23-17 and proceeded to outplay the Antelopes at both ends of the court.
"(We) came out of the gate firing," Hassler said. He also praised the tremendous job the defense did down low, holding the Adrian posts to just 13 points in the second half, with only four field goals. "We shut them down inside. We owned the paint," Hassler said.
Frei and Turner shared the lead in overall scoring with 14 points each. Frei also pulled down 11 rebounds for a double-double and blocked a pair of Antelope shots. Turner had three steals and five rebounds of her own on the evening. Soares, in what Hassler described as the best game she has had, pulled down eight rebounds, four of them offensive boards, and scored 10 points. Wendy Spaur had four assists, and the good team play was shown in the stats - 13 of Wallowa's 17 baskets being assisted.
"(Senior) Leah Pringle provided us a tremendous spark off the bench ... with three steals and two rebounds. She did a fantastic job guarding some big girls," Hassler commented.
Adrian's lead scorerwas Sarah McPeak, who found 12 points, four of them from the free throw line.
"McPeak made her points - she's a good player - but we contained her," Hassler said.
"I'm proud of the girls for coming together and playing team basketball. It was our day," Hassler said.