Girls battle back from 17 points down to beat Scio in hoops opener

Sean C. Morgan

Down 17 points at halftime, Sweet Home’s girls basketball team went to work in the second half of their season opener, dismantling host Scio’s lead and securing a 54-49 win on the road Friday night.

Scio built an 11-6 lead in the first quarter and then outscored Sweet Home 20-8, including three three-pointers by Carrie Jones, in the second period to lead 31-14 at halftime.

The Huskies who came out in the third quarter were a lot different from the Huskies who started the game.

Holding Scio to just three points in the third, the Huskies put 15 points through the hoop, to pull within four points of Scio, trailing 34-30.

Katie Miller scored a bucket to close the gap, 45-44, and Natalie Rodgers hit a free throw with 1:45 left on the clock to tie the game 45-45.

Sweet Home snagged the ball on a turnover and sent it on a long pass to Adaira Burger. As the ball headed out of bounds, Burger went after it and threw it back into play while Becky Belcher closed in and stripped it from a Scio player. Belcher flipped it back to Burger, who took it to the hoop to putthe Huskies ahead 47-45, draw a foul and connect on the free throw with a minute on the clock.

The two sides traded buckets, Sweet Home leading 49-47, and freshman Brooke Burke buried a three with nine seconds left on the clock.

Scio hit a pair of free throws and then fouled Burke, who scored on both shots, with five seconds on the clock to give the Huskies the win 54-49.

“I think it was just nerves, and Scio just came out really fast,” said Coach Michelle Knight of her team’s start. “It took us a little while to adjust. They were really aggressive. The second half was the team we see every day in practice.”

At halftime, “we reminded them they’ve worked way too hard to not play their game,” Knight said. The coaches told them not to be reactive and to go out and create opportunities.

“I could tell in the third quarter it was a different game.”

The Huskies had more energy and were more focused, she said. They collected 27 turnovers on the game and shot 27.2 percent from the field. The majority of their turnovers in the first half, and their shooting was better in the second half.

“The thing that was so great, they all were just so determined to win that game,” Knight said. “They were going after loose balls. They were anticipating passes. None were willing to give up. It was great to feel that.”

Burke led the Huskies with 24 points, including three three-pointers. Belcher contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds. Burger added another seven points with 18 rebounds and four steals. Natalie Rodgers scored three with five steals, and Miller scored two with four assists and two steals. Also scoring were Jillian Lynn and Kassidy Vandehei with two each.

Carrie Jones led Scio with 13 points, and Alexus Franklin added another 12.

The Huskies are scheduled to face Toledo in the first round of a three-day tournament beginning Thursday, Dec. 12, in Harrisburg. They will host Tillamook at 7 p.m. on Dec. 16.

Sweet Home 6 8 15 25 – 54

Scio 11 20 3 15 – 49

Sweet Home scoring: Brooke Burke 24, Becky Belcher 14, Adaira Burger 7, Natalie Rodgers 3, Katie Miller 2, Kassidy Vandehei 2, Jillian Lynn 2, Hannah Powell.

Scio scoring: Carrie Jones 13, Franklin 12, Kuzma 10, Bettey 4, Schumacher 3, Imel 2, Goodman, LeFeber, Pollard.