Mountain View showed it could compete with the top-ranked team in the Mountain Valley Conference for nearly a quarter.

But South Salem controlled the next three periods to ultimately run away from the host Cougars 58-41 Saturday afternoon.

Mountain View, which went 2-5 the first time through league play, compared with the Saxons’ 6-1 record, raced to a 15-9 lead in the first five minutes behind two 3-pointers by Mia Morey and a 4-point play from Mia Vaccaro.

“The first game against these guys we were not prepared mentally for the physicality and just the level of play,” Mountain View coach Megan Dickerson said, referring to the Cougars’ 65-27 loss at South Salem on Jan. 8. “This game we knew them coming in. We studied film some more, we had a really good practice yesterday and I think we came ready to play believing we could compete with them. It showed early and then we just made some mistakes and they take advantage of mistakes and made big shots down the stretch. They’re a proven team that knows how to win basketball games.”

South Salem (7-1 MVC, 13-5 overall) responded to Mountain View’s early charge with a 14-0 run to take a 23-15 lead, and the Saxons never trailed again.

The Cougars (2-6, 8-10) ended the run and scored their first basket of the second quarter with 3:23 remaining when Julia Towle found Hannah Hansen, who made a 3-point play.

Towle added a 3-point play of her own to keep Mountain View within 31-24 with 6:25 to go in the third period.

But the Saxons answered with a 9-0 run and outscored the Cougars 19-9 in the third to take command.

“We let them get to the basket, we let them get to the paint, we weren’t containing the dribble, we weren’t helping so they were getting easy baskets and that momentum,” Dickerson said of South Salem. “We just have to learn how to play for a full game and continue to keep at a high level for a full game.”

The Saxons extended their lead to 25 points in the fourth quarter before Bailey Dickerson knocked down two 3-pointers and Kailynn Bowles made two free throws to conclude the scoring.

“We missed a lot of shots in the third quarter and got a bigger deficit,” Megan Dickerson said. “We hit them too late in the fourth. They have big, strong athletes. The have great depth. They have good basketball players. They’re coached well. They’re just a really good team.”

Dickerson finished with 12 points to lead the Cougars. Morey added nine in the loss.

The Cougars play at Summit Tuesday night.

­­— Reporter: 541-383-0307,