By Curtis Marlin Portland Leader
Portland girls’ basketball coach Scott Steinbrecher felt good about his team’s chances in the second half despite trailing Westmoreland 13-8 at the break.
However, the Lady Panthers went nearly four minutes without scoring in the third and came home with a 42-29 setback Friday night.
“The third quarter killed us tonight,” said Steinbrecher after the contest.” Even though we trailed at halftime, that didn’t hurt us.”
Senior Haley Dickens did step up in the second half with 11 points, but Portland never got any closer than six over the final 16 minutes of action.
“We were aggressive in scoring in the second half,” Steinbrecher pointed. “When we fell behind, we had to switch to a man defense and Avery (Morris) made us pay. We had no answer for her.”
Morris led all scorers with 20 points including 13 over the final two periods that allowed the Lady Eagles to pull ahead with a double-digit lead.
Dickens topped the Purple in scoring with 11 points with Sami Parker chipping in with 10.
Mackenzie Hodges had four and Daley McCloud and Rachel Westveer netted two apiece.
Jordan Bandy followed Morris in the scoring column for Westmoreland with ten points.
Portland led throughout the first quarter as Parker tallied six points and a 6-2 edge. Morris swished a single free throw and Paige Akins scored inside to leave the Lady Eagles behind 6-5 as the period ended.
Parker opened the second quarter with a floater that gave the Purple an 8-5 margin. After that, the Red and White would score the final eight points of the half in leading at intermission 13-8. Morris had five points for the Eagles in the period.
Westmoreland scored six straight points to open the third quarter to build a 19-8 advantage. Dickens snapped Portland’s cold spell at the 3:28 mark on a 3-pointer. After another Eagle bucket, McCloud and Dickens each connected from outside to trim the deficit by six, 21-15 with 1:30 left in the quarter.
Morris and Bandy combined for seven points to close out the third and give their team a 28-15 lead.
After two Rachel Westveer foul shots opened the final eight minutes of action for Portland, the Lady Eagles increased the lead to 34-17 as Akins tallied six. Dickens dropped in a trio of free throws and completed a 3-point play to cut the lead to 11, 34-23 with 4:06 remaining.
Portland would later get to within nine, 38-29 as Parker cashed in an offensive rebound and Hodges fired in a 3-point basket.
Four straight points at the charity stripe finished up the game for the Lady Eagles.