The Pioneers put up only nine points in the second half against the No. 3-ranked Bruins
The Sandy girls basketball team kept pace with Barlow in the early stages of play before suffering a cold streak in the second half that let the visiting Bruins leave town with a 45-24 win Monday night.
The Pioneers found themselves within three points late in the first half after Madi Schmautz converted a three-point play under the basket. But Barlow went into the locker room with a 23-15 lead after Taylor Rispler beat the clock with a short baseline jumper.
The Bruins would run away from there, holding Sandy to only two baskets in the second half. A series of travelling violations combined with Barlows amped up pressure defense prevented the Pioneers from finding a rhythm on offense.
Sandy had a chance for the last shot with :04 left in the third quarter. The Pioneers were inbounding under their own basket, but would never touch the ball.
Barlow slapped on full-court pressure, and Bethany Leliefeld rushed onto the scene to intercept the inbounds pass. She was fouled while twisting her body to get out from under the hoop and made 1 of 2 free throws to send Barlow into the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead.
The Bruins lead moved to 20 points late in the game when Emily Sunderland drove into the lane, switched hands to squeeze between two defenders and put the ball gently off the glass for two points.
Sandy mustered only nine points in the second half five of them coming from the free-throw line.
The Pioneers stayed with Barlow for most of the first quarter, getting on the scoreboard when Dalen Richardson dived out of bounds to save a ball under the basket, setting up teammate Raquel Pellecer for a layin on the other end.
Moments later, Sandy took its only lead of the night when Kaylee Barnett ripped the net with a 3-pointer. Schmautz led the Pioneers with five points, while Sunderland led the Bruins with 10.
Barlow (3-1) is ranked No. 3 in the 6A RPI.
Sandy (3-2) is on a four-game road trip over Christmas Break that begins 5:30 p.m. Friday at The Dalles.