When the shots refused to fall from inside, the Aloha girls’ basketball team stepped out to the three-point line —the Warriors’ agreed upon comfort zone — and nearly pulled off what would’ve been a shocking upset over The Dalles.

Trailing 50-30 at the start of the fourth, Aloha streamed in six three-pointers over the final 4:35 of the quarter to get within 59-50 of the Indians on Tuesday. Sophomore guard Mackenzie Sibert singed the strings with threes from the top of the key, left angle and right wing in the fourth. And, Miranda Hensley hit back-to-back triples in the final minute to cut The Dalles’ lead to single digits.

Supposedly down-and-out following a dreary first half, the Warriors dug in on the defensive end and licensed their three-point marksmen to let off clips from the outside. The three ball quickly shaved points off the 20-point deficit and put the wind back in the Warriors’ sails defensively.

“It showed we have a lot of heart,” said Sibert. “We just need to start the game out with the same intensity. If we would’ve played with that same type of energy the whole game, then it would’ve been a lot closer, and we wouldn’t have had to make that comeback.”

“If we played hard the first half like we did the second half, we would’ve had it,” added senior guard Demetria Andrews. “We got more aggressive in the second half. We didn’t think so much, but we executed more. We knew what we were up against.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha sophomore guard Mackenzie Sibert splits a double team for two against The Dalles in a non league contest on Tuesday. Sibert led Aloha with 12 points.

Described by Sibert as a “streaky” shooting team that can catch flames at virtually any moment, the Warriors got hot in the fourth quarter, scorching the Eagles with their three-point barrage. That spurtability shifted the game’s impetus to Aloha in the fourth, though the shots started falling just a quarter or so too late.

“We fed off of each other’s energy,” said Sibert. “If someone made a good play, we were more into the game, and we’d cheer each other on. That gave everyone more energy, and it translated onto the court and how hard we played.”

Sibert said she discovered open looks against The Dalles’ zone because her teammates swung the ball quickly and gave her opportunities to jack up clear perimeter jumpers. As a unit, Aloha nailed 11 three pointers.

“Once I started making a few, then my confidence went up,” said Sibert, who finished with 12 points. “It was a lot easier to shoot those shots, and my teammates made good passes to me on the weakside for open shots.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha senior forward Makenzie Johnsen watches an Eagle steals a loose ball in the first quarter of the Warriors loss to The Dalles on Tuesday.

Sophomore Kenne Khiev hit a three of her own in the third quarter after an inside-out pass from Makenzie Johnsen as Aloha started moving the ball instead of letting it stick in the hands of one player. The Warriors worked it around the perimeter, rather than focusing on one competitor and letting her do the brunt of the offensive work.

“We’re little, so we practice a lot of threes,” said Andrews. “We just need to get fouled or shoot threes, and we’ll get it.”

Aloha turned up the defensive heat as well in the second half, ratcheting up its full court press with waterbug-quick guards like Khiev, Andrews and Cassidy McDonald presiding over the defense. The Warriors’ steal tally swelled up to the double-digit ranks in the second half as a result of their ill will toward the Indian ballhandlers.

“We just played more aggressively in the second half,” said Khiev. “We kept encouraging each other. We knew we could play at their level. In the first (half) we started out really slow and just held it out. We tried to play harder and be more aggressive on the ball.”

“We’re a good speed, ballpressure team,” added Andrews, who had three steals. “When we have good ball pressure, we get steals. We just have to work on finishing them.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha senior guard Lexie McCoy loads up for a three from the right wing in the second quarter of the Warriors 59-50 loss to The Dalles.

The Warriors won four of five games coming into their contest with the Indians, including three solid wins at the Nike Interstate Shootout during the Winter Break. And, while their schedule has been void of top-tier 6A competition in the preseason, Aloha has rough sketch of what kind of team it wants to be in the Metro League.

“I think we’ve come a long way since the first day of practice and tryouts,” said Sibert. “We’re improving each day in practice, and we’re coming together as a team more. The energy level that we play needs to be consistently higher because the Metro League is going to be tough. But, I think we can compete a lot better this year than we did last year.”

“This is our fourth year playing together, and we’re almost there,” added Andrews. “We’ll get better before league, if we just keep pushing and working like we’ve been doing and work as a team.”

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