By Ben • Ben Schorzman • 

Grizzlies harass Hillsboro in big win

The Grizzlies (7-4, 1-1) forced so many turnovers that after the game, Hillsboro’s statisticians said they lost track somewhere in the third quarter.

“The press got us off to a fast start,” McMinnville coach Sean Coste said. “When you run the press well, that translates into easy points.”

The Grizzlies raced out to a 19-6 lead in the first quarter, and Coste didn’t call off the press until late in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand. McMinnville’s full-court defense took Hillsboro (8-4, 2-0) out of a normal rhythm early in the game, creating frustration often. By the end of the first quarter, Spartans coach Lloyd Suiter had used three of his five allotted time outs.

Hillsboro settled down a bit in the second quarter, outscoring Mac 12-10 but still trailed 29-18 at halftime, and the frustration was evident on many players faces as they walked off the floor.

It only got worse in the second half. Hillsboro players were put under even greater pressure, forcing long scoring draughts. The Spartans went the first two minutes of the third quarter without scoring, and after Tanya Jones scored with 6:09 left in the fourth quarter, Hillsboro didn’t score again.

At one point late in the fourth quarter, Hillsboro player Kelcie Kust became so frustrated with Mac’s relentless ball hawking that she responded with a forearm push. She was called for the foul, and she didn’t play the rest of the game.

Coste said Mac played similarly to how it did vs. Tualatin last Friday — a 61-48 loss — but he said this time the foul situation was a bit more normal and didn’t create unbalance.

“We were still aggressive,” he said.

Aggressive is one word to use. The Grizzlies swarmed the ball much like flies to days-old fruit sitting on a kitchen table. The pressure and subsequent fast breaks have given Mac a facelift this season, but Coste said his young team is still figuring out how to play without also coughing up the ball. When asked how many turnovers the Grizzlies had, Coste didn’t know the exact number but did say, “too many.”

The Grizzlies had 14 turnovers in the first half and committed 10 in the second quarter alone.

“We were going too fast,” Coste said. “We are still trying to balance being able to race with taking care of the ball.”

The out-of-control nature of Mac’s play at time slowed the game down. The Grizzlies went a two-minute stretch in the first quarter without scoring and didn’t score for three minutes at the start of the second quarter. The trend continued in the second half. Mac would get a steal or turnover but not convert because it would also turn the ball over.

Senior Grace McMillan led all scorers with 10 points in the game, but she did leave the game with 7:26 left in the fourth quarter after falling to the court with an apparent leg injury. The good news for the Grizzlies is she was able to walk off the court under her own power.

Junior Nicole Long scored eight points, and sophomore Bethany Mohler added seven.

Sophomore Taylor Petersen scored six points for the Grizzlies.

Sophomore Audrey McMillan scored two points, had four steals and had seven rebounds.

The Grizzlies play at 5:45 p.m. tonight at home vs. Century (6-6, 0-2).

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