Turnovers proof costly as Cowgirls continue to struggle to stay in games

After dropping a close game to the Sisters Outlaws on the first day of the Sisters Invitational Basketball Tournament, the Crook County Cowgirls were optimistic going into the remainder of the tournament. LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Sarah Connolly drives around Molalla defender Sierra Cox, while Page Kump (23) sets a screen. Molalla easily won the game.

Afterall, the team had matched its season high in scoring and had a chance to win right to the end of the game.

Instead, the Cowgirls were blown out Thursday against Molalla, falling 62-23 to the Indians.

"They have some girls that you can tell have played some ball," Crook County head coach Heidi Lea said. "We have to tell our girls, if she is dribbling and our person is jumping over on to her then you need to fly to the basket so that she can pass it to you, while the Molalla girls just know when to cut and when to pass the ball."

Although they played better on the final day of the tournament on Friday, the Cowgirls continued to lose as they fell 60-36 to the Madras White Buffalos.

"Actually we played a really great first half," Lea said. "Then they came out in the third quarter and made some threes. They had eight threes in the game and it was from four people. That's hard to defend."

With the hot outside shooting, Madras broke the game open in the third quarter as they pulled away for an easy win.

Against Molalla, the Cowgirls were never in the game.

After dropping a close game to the eventual tournament champion Banks Braves, the Indians started slowly against the Cowgirls.

Crook County took an early 2-0 lead on a follow basket by Tiffany Smith. The Cowgirls led 4-0 after Rylee Troutman made a pair of free throws.

However, from then on it was all Indians. Molalla went on a 15-3 run to end the first quarter, then outscored Crook County 15-1 in the second period as they rolled to a 30-8 halftime lead.

The Indians continued to roll, outscoring the Cowgirls 14-6 in the third quarter and 18-9 in the final period as they cruised to the easy win.

The Cowgirls were just eight-36 from the floor in the contest, or 22 percent, while the Indians hit on 28 of 61 shots, for 45 percent.

Crook County finished with 27 rebounds compared to just 18 for Molalla. However, the Indians forced the Cowgirls into 33 turnovers with their pressure defense.

After the first two minutes of the game, Crook County struggled to generate any offense, while Molalla steals led to easy break away layups for the Indians.

Smith led the Cowgirls in scoring with six, while Gywneth Ptomey chipped in with five. Smith also had nine rebounds.

Meanwhile, Audrey Rieskamp led the Indians in scoring with 21, while Sierra Cox was also in double figures with 11. Mattie Myers and Alicia Schultz also had solid games, finishing with eight points apiece. Reiskamp also picked up nine steals, while Meyers had six rebounds and four steals.

With the win, the Indians improved to 2-4, while the Cowgirls fell to 0-8.LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Tiffany Smith grabs an offensive  rebound over a pair of Molalla defenders. Smith finished the game with six points and nine rebounds in the Cowgirl loss. Smith had another solid game the following day as she scored 12 points and once again grabbed nine rebounds as the Cowgirls lost to Madras.

Although the Cowgirls played better against the White Buffalos, in the end, the result was the same.

Crook County trailed 15-7 at the end of the first quarter, but had a strong second quarter and trailed just 27-18 at the half.

Madras upped the pressure in the second half, limiting Crook County to just eight points in the third quarter, while they continued their hot shooting with 17 points in the stanza. Leading 44-26 going into the fourth quarter, the White Buffalos continued to pull away, outscoring the Cowgirls 16-10 in the final period of the 24-point win.

However, despite the final margin, Lea was upbeat about the improvement she saw from the previous day.

"We did some things really well," she said. "We hit 42 percent of our shots, we were 17 for 40, and we had 39 rebounds, which is good."

Nonetheless, once again it was turnovers that proved most costly for the Cowgirls, who finished the game with 35.

"Like I told the kids, we have to do better on turnovers," Lea said. "You're not going to be in games when you have that many turnovers. You are going to have some turnovers, but you can't have the stupid ones. You know when we travel or just turn and throw the ball to their post. Those are the turnovers that we can't afford. Those are the type of turnovers that we control and those are the turnovers that we can't have."

Troutman led the Cowgirls in scoring against the White Buffalos with 14 points. She also had a solid night on the boards with eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Smith had another strong outing, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Trinity Templeton, who Lea applauded for her effort and hustle, also grabbed nine rebounds.

Lynden Harry finished with 21 points for the White Buffalos, while Jackie Zamora finished with 12 and Jiana Smith Francis added 10.

With the win, the White Buffalos improved to 6-3, while Crook County dropped to 0-9.

The Cowgirls are back in action on Friday when they go on the road to take on the 0-11 Sweet Home Huskies in a 5:45 p.m. contest.

"We had some positive things that we can take into next Friday's game with Sweet Home," Lea said. "There are some things that we can work on this week and hopefully increase our productivity by Friday. I think that is a winnable game for us."

Molalla 62, Crook County 23

At Sisters

Crook County (23) — Tiffany Smith 6, Ptomey 5, Troutman 3, Kasberger 1, Connolly 2, Mode 2, Thompson 2, Searcy, Christiansen, Kump. Totals 8 6-13 23.

Molalla (62) — Audrey Rieskamp 21, Cox 11, Meyers 8, Schultz 8, Imholt 5, Elliot 2, Sheckard 2, Potter 5. Totals 28 3-7 62.

Crook County 7 8 6 9 — 23

Molalla 15 15 14 18 — 62

3 point goals — Crook County: Ptomey; Molalla: Cox, Reiskamp, Potter.

Madras 60, Crook County 36

At Sisters

Crook County (36) — Rylee Troutman 14, Smith 12, Templeton 4, Mode 2, Searcy 2, Thompson 2, Kasberger, Connolly, Searcy, Christiansen, Kump. Totals 17 1-5 36.

Madras (60) — Lynden Harry 21, Zamora 12, Smith Francis 10, Smith 6, Suppah 4, Bagley 3, Whipple 3, Anderson 1, Iverson, Culps, Oivera, Freeman. Totals 21 10-21 60.

Crook County 7 11 8 10 — 36

Madras 15 12 17 16 — 60

3 point goals — Crook County: Troutman; Madras: Smith Francis 3, Harry 2, Smith 2, Bagley.

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