Story and photos by Mike Gesler
Tri County 47 Grant 40
The last time Grant Tigers and Tri County Vikings met it was on Tri County’s court, and the Vikings escaped with a one point victory over the Tigers. This meeting would take place on the Tiger’s home court, and the Tigers were hungry to keep their two game win streak alive.
“We got off to a slow start tonight, but I thought we did a great job of climbing back, and starting to play our brand of basketball,” stated Paige Paulsen, the Tigers head coach. A slow start was certainly an understatement. Grant’s play in the first quarter was uninspired. Tri County jumped to an eight point lead before Kassidy Doornbos found the net for the Tiger’s first points. Just as Grant brought the game within two, Tri County’s Ashley Bialek hit for three. Despite a sluggishness to Grant’s step, the Tigers only found themselves behind by four at the end of the first.
I don’t know what Coach Paulsen said to his girls between quarters, maybe he had them drink a shot of espresso, whatever it was, the Tigers came out a different team in the second. They were more aggressive on the boards, moved the ball with purpose, shut down the lanes on defense, and basically frustrated any opportunity for Tri County. The Tiger’s put up fifteen for the quarter while holding the Vikings to only four, and went into the locker room with a seven point lead.
The third quarter started out with Tri County’s Ashley Bialek hitting for two and Alayna Merlington putting down three. That brought Tri County within two. But then Grant’s Kirstyn Throop got involved and answered back with a three and two of her own. Unfortunately, that would be Grant’s only point for the third as Tri County went on a twelve point run to end the third which gave themselves a four point advantage to begin the fourth.
The Grant girls were not about to go gentle into that good night, and with just less than four minutes on the clock, the Tigers clawed their way back to tie up the score at thirty-seven a piece. However, Tri County’s aggression and physical play was too much for Grant to sustain any sort of advantage. By the time the final buzzer sounded, the Vikings swung the momentum back to their side putting up ten more points while the Tigers only stitched together three.
“We came out in the third, had a couple of chances, and credit to Tri County. They certainly stayed with it and played hard, played aggressive, very physical, and we couldn’t get back on track come later,” shared Coach Paulsen. “We had some opportunities, scored some points, but they certainly had an answer for everything with some hustle plays. Going into the last couple weeks here, we certainly got to be able to match that with all the teams we play.”
Leading in tonight’s efforts for the Tigers was Kassidy Doornbos with thirteen points, followed by Sara Arends with eleven. Kirstyn Throop put up eight, Trinity Swanson shot for four, and Savannah Passage and Jaycee Rider each had two. The Tigers fall to 5-6 in the conference, and will face Fremont on Friday evening in Grant.