Dallas girls dominated in Polk County rivalry

Emma Classen attempts a shot at the basket on Jan. 22 at their game against CHS.

Photo by Jennifer Biberston
Emma Classen attempts a shot at the basket on Jan. 22 at their game against CHS.

DALLAS — Facing a team of older, more experienced basketball players, the Dallas Dragons girls basketball team battled against the Central Panthers, but despite a late push in the second half, the Dragons couldn’t capitalize on their Polk County rivals’ energy and fell 58-29.

“I was very pleased with the way the girls came out and started the game and continued to push forward the whole game,” said Central’s head coach Julie McDonald. “We played with a lot of confidence, energy and took care of the ball. We moved the ball well in the offense and were able to hit some outside shots which opened up our inside game. On the defensive end, the girls played good solid team defense and rebounded the ball well, which gave us momentum, and we were able to control the game.”

Threatened by an almost scoreless first quarter, Dallas (3-12 overall, 2-7 Mid-Willamette Conference) sophomore Madelyn Loughary managed to toss a jumper in from the corner to put them on board 20-2 with a minute left on the clock. The team got a few good looks at the basket but couldn’t execute on scoring, trailing by 18 points to open the second quarter.

Finding a small gap in Central’s (9-7 overall, 4-4 MWC) defense, the Dragons took advantage and went on an eight-point run before halftime, but still fell behind 31-10.

“Central’s good, really well-coached,” said Dallas head coach Dakota Griffith. “They have a roster full of 18- and 17-year-old girls that play a lot of basketball together and know their identity very well and really play to their strengths. And we’re inconsistent and just trying to figure out what we do well. We just needed a little bit more courage and effort from the get-go.”

Coming out of the locker rooms, the girls nabbed five more points to their scoreboard, but couldn’t keep up with the Panthers offensive front and continued to trail father behind, closing the third quarter 40-17.

“We definitely struggled and did not play up to our potential the first half,” senior Emma Classen said. “We had a run or two, but overall we didn’t play very good or play together, we weren’t aggressive. Second half we kind of picked it up. I think overall, we didn’t play our game tonight.”

To start off the final eight minutes of the game, Classen clinched a 3-pointer, and from there, went on a 12-point spree, with the help of senior Norma Hernandez, to pad their final score of 29 points.

Griffith said the team has a tendency to come out hesitant in the first half, and it’s something he’s working on with them.

“Some of it may be insecurities,” he said, “not as confident ... but they are a group of competitive girls. I love the girls. They’re a great group to work with, and I just hope we understand that we are going to get there. We’ll get there.”

On Thursday, the girls nabbed their first victory in six games against South Albany, winning 54-45.

They host Lebanon on Tuesday after press time.

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