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Examiner
  • Eagles top Chicks again for Sonic Showdown title

  • After the Grain Valley and Pleasant Hill girls traded emphatic wins over each other last week, Friday’s third meeting for the championship of the Grain Valley Sonic Showdown left fans on both sides of the gym with little chance to relax.

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  • After the Grain Valley and Pleasant Hill girls traded emphatic wins over each other last week, Friday’s third meeting for the championship of the Grain Valley Sonic Showdown left fans on both sides of the gym with little chance to relax.
    But once Grain Valley grabbed the lead right after halftime it stayed ahead, holding off top-seeded Pleasant Hill to win its own tournament, 41-36.
    The second-seeded Eagles (12-5) used an 8-1 run in the final minutes of the second quarter to forge a halftime tie, then scored the first seven points of the third quarter, equaling the game’s largest lead.
    “I told the kids beforehand, we’ve each clubbed each other, so it’s gonna be a great game,” Grain Valley coach Randy Draper said. “It didn’t disappoint.”
    The Eagles were 3-4 at Christmas, but its only loss since then was in the finals of the Pleasant Hill Invitational, the first of what will be at least four meetings between the Eagles and Chicks (12-4) this season – another conference battle remains.
    “I think us winning the last game was important to us because we knew we could beat them,” Draper said. “You learn by playing good teams, and we’ve learned. Fortunately, we’re putting it to use.”
    Pleasant Hill led 13-9 after one quarter thanks to Rachel Schick’s steal and buzzer-beating 3-pointer from just across halfcourt. The Chicks raised their advantage to 18-11 midway through the second but managed just one free throw the rest of the period, as the Eagles’ full court man-to-man started to cause more problems.
    Sarah Turner, who led all players with 24 points, scored twice to start the Eagles’ run, the second hoop a three-point play after a Chicks turnover. Reserve Chandler Huttinger then knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing with 43 seconds left in the half, leading to a 19-all tie at the break.
    “That was huge, because we were melting a little bit,” Draper said of the push into halftime. “Chandler hit a huge 3 at the end of the half, and Courtney (Sibert) did a nice job coming off the bench and helping us. We needed to get close the end of the half, just to mentally boost us.”
    Within its first four possessions of the third, Grain Valley got a driving basket from Kelsi Hill, a Turner basket and another Turner three-point play off a Rachel Reddell assist for a 26-19 lead.
    Pleasant Hill shot just 16 of 44 from the field, made just 1 of 10 on free throws and committed 21 turnovers. But the Chicks stayed within range thanks in part to a 36-23 rebounding advantage. Thanks to Kristen Orpin’s top-of-the-key trey and Schick’s power move for two, the Chicks shaved a seven-point deficit down to 36-34 with three minutes left.
    Page 2 of 2 - Following a Grain Valley timeout, Reddell hit a short jumper, the Chicks missed at the other end and Turner got fouled in transition, canning a pair of free throws to make it 40-34. Pleasant Hill got a Schick basket to respond, but Kindred Wesemann got whistled for an offensive foul with 43 seconds left, snuffing out any last-minute rally.
    “We were just throwing the ball around a little bit,” Pleasant Hill coach Jim Underwood said. “They’re good no doubt, and you’ve gotta make free throws. That would’ve been nice. But they’re good; they earned it.”
    Reddell backed Turner with eight points and six rebounds. Schick’s 15 points and nine boards paced the Chicks, while Kai Wesemann added eight and six, respectively.
     
     
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