In Oregon’s 65-50 win over Stillman Valley in girls basketball Tuesday, the best play didn’t produce any points, but was the storyline to the game.
With time running out in the third quarter, Emy Wright made a steal near the Lady Hawk bench and tossed the ball back towards the basket before falling out of bounds. Sam Lambrigtsen, with an innate presence for being around the ball anytime at all, grabbed it and converted it for a basket. Unfortunately, it came barely after the buzzer sounded.
It didn’t make any difference. It was just one more demonstration of the athletic prowess by Wright and Lambrigsten in leading Oregon (14-6, 5-1) to the victory over the much taller Lady Cardinals (8-8. 2-3).
“They came out and played lights out. Their stars performed like stars,” SV coach Heather Alderks said.
Wright had a shooting performance worthy of “Queen of the Hill” at Peoria. She nailed her first six 3-pointers on her way to a game-high 26 points.
“There’s not much more to say. That’s amazing,” Oregon coach Kristy Eckardt said. If Wright was Ms Outside, Lambrigtsen was Ms Inside, tallying 23 points, mostly on her patented left-handed drives to the basket.
“It was definitely the best they’ve played together,” said Kristy Eckardt, who has been emphasizing team chemistry. “They were on the same page and know when to look for each other.”
The pair combined for all 10 of Oregon’s first-quarter points in a 10-7 lead. Stillman pulled to within 10-9 and unheralded Kelsey Pudlas came to the rescue for the Lady Hawks.
Coming off the bench and a bit reluctant to shoot at first, Pudlas eventually began to exert herself. She scored a basket and then stole the ball back and scored again, giving the Lady Hawks a 14-9 cushion.
“Kelsey gave us a spark,” Eckardt said. “She’s got an excellent jump shot and made stops on defense.”
Then, Wright got even hotter, scoring three 3-pointers within a 2-minute time span of the second quarter, giving Oregon a 29-11 lead.
Macy Weaver, a 6-foot-2 freshman for SV, then ran off six straight points before another Wright 3-pointer quelled the rally.
“We didn’t utilize our size advantage and get as many post touches as we needed,” Alderks said. Weaver had 13 points and 5-10 Abby Timm had 15, but were no match for the 1-2 punch of Wright and Lambrigtsen.
Lambrigtsen put on show for the crowd at Stillman Valley and the scouts from Byron filming the action by scoring the first 10 points of the third quarter for her team, including a nifty reverse layup.
The Lady Hawks took a 52-37 lead into the fourth quarter and the teams traded baskets the rest of the way. Kimmie Janke spearheaded and effective 4-corner stall that helped preserve the win.
“Our passing was ridiculously good,” Eckardt said. “We did a better job on the tall girls than we did before against them and had excellent position on rebounds.”
McKaylee Beeter quietly scored seven points and served as a weapon that SV needed to defend, freeing Wright and Lambrigtsen up for easier scores. Pudlas chipped in six points.
Oregon hosts Rockford Lutheran Friday at the Blackhawk Center.