Mustangs slip past Eagle girls for state spot

March 2, 2011

The Milwaukie Mustangs had enough at the start and enough at the finish -- and that was enough to move on to the state playoffs Saturday night.

The Mustangs took advantage of numerous turnovers by Hood River Valley in the first quarter and then held on as the Eagles could not convert late shots, giving Milwaukie a 35-29 win.

"Missing open shots down the stretch was key," HRV coach Tom Ames said.

With HRV senior point guard Jaci Bryant out due to injury, Milwaukie applied full court pressure throughout the game.

"They attacked our dribblers," Ames said.

The pressure worked, forcing the Eagles into 20 turnovers and allowed the Mustangs to get out to a 12-4 lead to start the game.

Nicole Hannifan was a force for the Mustangs, scoring 15 points to lead all scorers.

While the Eagles were able to rally they were never able to take the lead.

After getting off to the bad start the Eagles got things going in the right direction, and eventually tied the game at 29-29 early in the fourth.

However, Angie Titus' game-tying layup with 6:15 to play would be the last time the Eagles would score. Milwaukie built up a four-point lead on two consecutive baskets and never relinquished it.

Titus had 14 points for the Eagles and Logan Bailey added 10.

Milwaukie bled the clock down to less than two minutes before HRV went into the penalty in fouls. They sent Milwaukie to the free-throw line numerous times in the final minute. The Mustangs missed several free throws, giving the Eagles chances to get back in it.

HRV could not take advantage, though, as they missed several open shots and then lost their last chance when they turned the ball over on an inbounds pass with 15 seconds to play.

Milwaukie then hit two free throws to seal the game.

"If we make our shots it goes the other way," Ames said.

Ames was proud of the way his team battled back from the early deficit.

"It was tough," he said. "We had the defensive piece."

The Eagles finish the season 12-12 overall.

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