Free throws help Gophers bury HRV girls

GRESHAM — As the HRV girls basketball team continues to put up one solid effort after another, it is earning a reputation among the league’s Goliaths as being a potential giant killer.

Already this season, the Eagles have played Barlow tough on two occasions, and pushed league-favorite Central Catholic to overtime. Now they have made believers out of Gresham, giving the Gophers one of their toughest tests all season last Friday night.

But a poised, experienced Gresham squad was able to sink its free throws down the stretch to steal away the narrow 39-35 win.

“I know for a fact that the Gresham team and fans were shocked at how well we played against them,” HRV coach Tracy Norton said.

But the Eagles didn’t show up just to play with the Gophers; they showed up to win the game. HRV battled Gresham blow for blow, holding a four-point lead at halftime and a two-point lead after three quarters.

HRV stayed within two points until the final minute of the game, but Gresham continued to go inside to its prime-time player, Lindsay Calmettes (6’2”, 185), who scored two big hoops — one, a three-point play.

“Lesley Betts took what I thought was a charge,” Norton said, “but the officials called Lesley for the foul and (Calmettes) made one of two free throws to put them up by two instead of one.”

That forced the Eagles to foul the rest of the way, and Gresham was able to hit its free throws to preserve the win.

Norton said the entire game was back and forth, and neither team was able to build a lead of more than four points the entire night. She was pleased with the effort, and praised her players for maintaining their composure late in the game.

She specifically pointed to Lindsey Sanguras, who made five free throws in the final four minutes, and Lindsay Benjamin and Becca Meierbachtol, who handled the defensive pressure well.

“We were successful with our zone defense and were able to slow them down and not let them press the ball up the floor,” she said. “Plus, we had no trouble whatsoever with their press, which is what they usually rely on to beat teams.”

Next up, the Eagles will travel to Reynolds Friday to try and avenge a 37-31 home loss on Dec. 7.

Gresham 39, HRV 35

Benjamin 15, Betts 7, Sanguras 5, Merz 5, Meierbachtol 3; Rebounds — 17 (Halliday 7)

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