By News-Register staff • 

Grizzlies stop Liberty, 43-39, earn bid to 6A tourney, play Clackamas Wed.

HILLSBORO – McMinnville High School’s girls’ basketball team (10-15, 4-10 GVC) punched its ticket to the state 6A state tournament with a 43-39 play-in win over Liberty (9-16, 4-12 Metro) Saturday on the Falcons home court.

The victory earned the Grizzlies a game with number-three ranked Clackamas of the Mt. Hood conference, who are 21-3 on the year and went undefeated in conference play. McMinnville will meet the Falcons on Wednesday in a 6:30 p.m. tilt on the Falcons court.

Liberty was the early aggressor, leading 13-9 at the end of the first quarter. Head coach Sean Coste said, “The girls were a little tight to start the game and just needed to get into the flow of the game and the way Liberty was playing.”

In the second and third quarters, the Grizzly defense took charge, and McMinnville controlled the game. Mac forced the Falcons into 30 turnovers in the contest, and fed the offense off those miscues as it ran to a 21-17 halftime lead and 32-23 lead at the end of the third period.

McMinnville opened a 12-point lead early in the fourth period, but Liberty made a mini-run at the Grizzlies in the final stanza, outscoring the locals by a 16-11 margin. The Falcons capitalized on foul trouble McMinnville found itself in, hitting key free throws late in the game, but the Grizzlies simply were not going to let this game get away from them.

McMinnville was led by the efforts of freshman Kyra Fisher. Playing for the injured Alix Williams, she had a double-double on the night, capturing 16 rebounds and pumping in 15 points.

Ashley Rhoads had another stellar night, going 2-5 from beyond the three-point stripe, and scoring 10 while leading the defensive effort.

Kayla Heuberger added nine points on the evening and Tori Fox scored seven.

Coste called Rhoads the picture of consistency on the night, adding, “She had five steals and two assists and made shots at critical times.”

Coste also observed Fisher had one of her best games of the season, noting, “Kyra scored off of offensive rebounds and the girls did a good job of getting the ball to her on the inside. She was active around the basket and even made a nice 10-foot jumper.”

McMinnville’s defensive effort was pivotal to the Grizzlies’ win, forcing 30 turnovers and netting 32 points from Falcon miscues. The Grizzlies made things more difficult than they should have been by going 7-19 from the charity stripe. McMinnville won the rebound battle, 35-29.

Of the Wednesday contest, Coste said, “Clackamas is going to be a challenge for us. They are obviously a very good team – but I think the girls have accepted the fact and are excited about testing themselves against one of the best teams in the state.”


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