Sandy girls drop their first two games at Greshams holiday tournament

by: THE POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Sammie Byron tries to get around a Hood River defender during Fridays 37-33 loss.

GRESHAM — Sandy took the advantage with an almost flawless third quarter against Hood River on Friday. The Pioneers then squandered away what would have been a much-needed win by going scoreless in the fourth.

The Eagles used the eight-minute shutout to pull off the 37-33 win, and handed Sandy its second loss in as many days at the Gresham Holiday Hoops tournament.

“This one hurts a lot more than when we lost by 20,” sophomore forward Raquel Pellecer said. “We're inexperienced and we didn't keep up the same intensity that we had during the rest of the game.”

Up until the fourth quarter, all signs were pointing towards a Pioneer celebration. Sandy played even with Hood River in the first half, and came out of the locker room hitting on all cylinders. Sparked by three Pellecer field goals, the Pioneers went on a 10-2 run to close out the third quarter with a six-point lead.

Then Sandy went ice-cold.

Instead of continuing to attack on offense, the Pioneers got complacent and suffered some costly turnovers. They then began to panic and started settling for outside shots. None of those shots found the nylon.

“We just didn't understand the pressure or the urgency of the situation,” Sandy coach Matt Gist said. “When you get scored on, you have to answer. If you don't, you will be taken advantage of at the varsity level.”

The Eagles saw an opening to steal the win, and they pounced on it.

After pulling within one point, Hood River elected to use its guards to drive to the hoop. On their final three possessions, the Eagles drew fouls, which translated into five points, and victory.

As maddening as the loss was for Sandy, it did take a few steps in the right direction. Hood River's Natalia Ames lit up the Pioneers for three three-pointers and 13 points in the first half, but Sandy made a defensive adjustment and held her to just two free throws in the second half.

The Pioneers also did a better job taking care of the ball. One night after committing 32 turnovers, Sandy turned it over just 13 times against Hood River, and it forced 18.

Pellecer, who led Sandy with 10 points, said the team has to forget the negative outcome and build upon the positives.

“We are a young team with all juniors and sophomores,” Pellecer said. “I think we will learn from this and we will win these kinds of games later in the season.”

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