It was the reaction every coach wants out of a halftime pep talk.
Mountain View trailed visiting Redmond by five points heading into the locker room — the Cougars had made just two baskets in the second quarter before Mia Morey hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer — and coach Steve Riper thought his team had left too many scoring opportunities on the table.
“I challenged the kids at halftime, because I felt, especially at this time of the season, we had ridiculous turnovers that we shouldn’t have,” Riper said. “We did a great job blocking out and getting a rebound, then you can’t get it to a teammate 3 feet away without losing the ball. So I challenged the kids at halftime, told them to come out and play better defense, we had to stop throwing the ball away in that kind of fashion. And they really responded.”
The Cougars responded to the tune of 31 points in the third period, bypassing the Panthers and holding on to a 57-48 Intermountain Conference girls basketball win.
Bailey Dickerson scored 14 of those third-quarter points, and she ignited a 17-0 Cougar run with eight straight points. And as the Cougars (2-7 IMC, 8-12 overall) exploded on offense, they held Redmond (2-8, 7-14) to 14 points in the third quarter, forcing the Panthers into mistakes.
“That was probably one of our better third quarters of the year,” Riper said. “From a defensive standpoint. we don’t press a lot, so for us that was kind of new. We got a few turnovers out of the press, got a few easy buckets and got that momentum rolling.”
Dickerson finished the night with a team-high 20 points, Morey scored 17, and Liliana Overcash scored 12, nine of them in the second half.
Ava Kitchin led the Panthers with 22 points, but unlike Redmond’s 56-40 win over Mountain View in January when McKaylie Capps scored 18 points and Ellie Corwin chipped in 14, the Cougars kept the rest of the Panthers in single digits. In both the second and fourth quarters, Kitchin scored all but one of Redmond’s field goals.
“Mia (Morey) was face-guarding Capps, trying to keep the ball out of her hands as much as possible, and if she did get rid of it, try not to let her get it back,” Riper said. “And as soon as (Capps) got open — she’s a great shooter — she buried a 3. But I think we did a pretty good job, Mia did a good job on defense of taking her away for most of the night.”
The Cougars have gotten both of their conference wins at Redmond’s expense and are now facing their final run through the IMC. Redmond, which has conference wins over Mountain View and Summit, will close out the season at Ridgeview and then at Bend.
“It’s hard to beat a team three times,” Riper said. “I’m hoping that Ridgeview finds that out on Friday.”
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