After dominating the first quarter of their non-conference game Friday night, the Umatilla Vikings looked overmatched in the ensuing two periods and a comfortable lead soon dried up entirely. But the Umatilla girls’ basketball team shook off the fatigue in the final quarter and clamped down on the defense to hang on for a 38-33 victory over Pilot Rock.
The Rockets (0-1) scored just three points in the final frame as coach Scott Bow’s Vikings (1-0) used pressure to control the pace of the game.
“We were stressing discipline,” Bow said. “You’ve got to be reading the passing lanes and feed them into a trap — let them make the mistake.”
The team felt the same fatigue that Umatilla was experiencing, she said. Zyph attempted a pair of 3-point shots in the final 90 seconds.
“We were trying to set up for threes that could have cut the lead to two points but couldn’t get it going,” Zyph said.
Zyph finished with four points, but zero baskets from 3-point territory.
Fouls played an integral role in this game’s outcome, said senior Vikings’ guard Dana Cardenas. Her Umatilla squad was light on fouls, committing only 10 during the game. The Rockets played more physical and paid for it with close to twice as many whistles blown.
Far more of those tended to be shooting fouls. The Vikings took 16 foul shots but made only five. The Rockets could not take advantage of the poor foul-shooting performance because they went to the line for only four shots.
“It came down to being more about us not fouling,” said Cardenas, who accounted for four of her team’s fouls. She also led the game in scoring with 18 points.
Six-foot senior Jordan Jeppe led Pilot Rock’s offense with 11 points. Junior Ginni Harrison missed a double-double by a field goal, finishing with eight points and 10 rebounds.
The first game of the season acts as a test for both teams, an opportunity to feel things out against live competition, coach Bow said. And after one game, he likes what he saw.
“We’re a lot better on defense than I though,” Bow said. “And we stress defense. That’s our No. 1 key.”