PILOT ROCK — Ten days between games left the Pilot Rock girls’ basketball team sluggish and off-balance, at least initially. It took a few minutes, but the Rockets found their footing.
Weston-McEwen did not.
The Rockets (10-6, 6-1 Blue Mountain Conference) put together a strong third quarter and a crushing fourth on their way to a 58-39 victory over the TigerScots (10-7, 5-3 BMC) Tuesday in league play.
It took the Rockets nearly six minutes to land their first point, allowing Weston-McEwen to run out to an 8-0 lead, but from that point the game was all Rockets. It’s the same groove Pilot Rock has settled into over the last month in which they’ve gone 6-0 and rocketed to the top of the Blue Mountain standings.
“It’s all just working, we’re finally clicking,” senior post Jordan Jeppe said. “I think we’ve finally found our momentum and we’re just going to keep going.”
The win Tuesday sets up a showdown with Enterprise (14-2, 6-1 BMC) this Friday, a home game for the Rockets pairing the two teams tied atop the standings. Enterprise’s lone loss in the conference schedule: a 44-40 stumble against the Rockets on Jan. 14.
“I think if we beat Enterprise (again), we’re going to be doing well the rest of the season,” Pilot Rock guard Caitlin Zyph said. “(To do that) we’ve got to run hard and be able to beat their fast breaks.”
Against Weston-McEwen, the Rockets relied on their old formula of speedy guard play with Zyph at the helm and the post presence of Jeppe. Zyph finished with 16 points — a game high — including back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth quarter that boosted the team’s lead to double digits. Jeppe scored 14 and added 13 rebounds.
Zyph also stole the ball nine times as her team outscored the TigerScots by 18 points after intermission.
The girls from Athena have lost two straight league matches to drop to third place in the conference. A Saturday loss to Elgin (5-8, 1-6 BMC) could partially be chalked up to rust but coach Amber Doremus pointed to missed assignments and missed opportunities in the second half against Pilot Rock for this shortcoming. They were the same kind of mistakes that haunted the TigerScots in the the first loss as well.
“We played defense on Zyph and some of their shooters in the first half but you give her any second of daylight and she’s going to shoot it in just like (Shannon) Strickland of Elgin did against us on Saturday,” Doremus said. Strickland had 13 points for the Huskies in that game.
Taylor Rudolph paced the TigerScots with 13 points on Tuesday.