By Grant Lucas

The Bulletin

Cambree Scott concedes that it has taken some time for her to reach her current zoned-in level of post play, which was on display Friday night.

Scott scored 14 points to lead Bend High to a dominant 62-32 nonconference girls basketball win over The Dalles. Yet it was not the total that grabbed the spotlight. Rather, it was the manner in which the senior forward reached that mark.

At 5 feet 10 inches, Scott is not a physically imposing post player. Yet she was strong on the block Friday against a bigger Riverhawks squad, crashing the offensive and defensive glass en route to 11 rebounds, blocking two shots and hitting 6 of 9 shots, all within a few feet of the rim, to help the Lava Bears improve to 6-3.

“It’s definitely taken me four years to get to that point,” Scott said of her solid post play. “But it’s one of those things where you just have to play tough and be strong with the ball.”

Led by Scott, Bend took control early against the visiting Riverhawks. The Dalles took a 4-2 lead, but a 14-0 surge by the Lava Bears, capped by consecutive field goals by Kaycee Brown, allowed the hosts to grab a 16-4 advantage after the first quarter.

Trinity Barudoni drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner to extend Bend’s lead to 30-10 with less than a minute to play in the first half. While the Bears continued to convert offensively to build a 58-22 fourth-quarter lead — and eventually the team’s highest-scoring output of the season — it was Bend’s defense that Todd Ervin was quick to praise afterward.

“We’re getting more consistent on the defensive end, which is great,” the Bend coach said. “The kids are starting to see their hard work and understanding at that end pay off.”

In the first half alone, the Lava Bears’ defense shined. While benefiting from 15 turnovers by The Dalles, Bend held the Riverhawks (3-5) to just 3-of-25 shooting en route to a commanding 31-12 halftime lead. And a near-complete game of defensive dominance showed Ervin that the Bears have bought in to a defense-first mindset.

“I think it’s starting to come. Tonight will really help,” Ervin said. “Our defense was pretty good at Silverton (a 36-25 loss Tuesday) as well. I think it’s things that we’re building on, and they’re starting to see how important it is. It’s hard for anybody, especially high school kids, to want to play good defense. But it helps us in so many other things that we want to do that it’s pretty much mandatory that we do it.”

In helping Bend rebound from its lowest-scoring game of the season against Silverton, Barudoni hit three 3s for nine points and dished out three assists for the Bears. Sydney Gardner was 4-of-7 shooting for eight points — another sign, Ervin said, that the Lava Bears are beginning to find a rhythm offensively — and Taylyn Hadley added seven points and five assists.

Friday’s win was a steppingstone for Bend, Scott said. The Bears have already faced four teams that appeared at last season’s Class 5A state tournament (winning two of those contests), and the victory over The Dalles proved to Scott that Bend is clicking earlier this season than in recent years.

“We’ve been playing a lot of really tough teams, and it’s just been helping us get closer to where we want to be,” Scott said. “I think before (Intermountain Conference play), we’re making each step, and each game is helping us to get a little bit better.

“We’re playing more together. We’re learning from past years so that we’re coming in stronger.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0307, glucas@bendbulletin.com

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