With the Maniacs having previously beaten the Central Idaho League’s only other team, the Bulldogs’ 53-20 win at Orofino last Thursday, Jan. 9, put the GHS girls in position to claim the district tournament top seed.
“All the girls played well and played hard,” coach Michelle Barger told the Free Press, praising their play on both offense and defense. “It was a great first conference win.”
With Whitepine League leader Lapwai in town last Saturday, Jan. 11, the Grangeville girls led 3-0 on a three-pointer by Macy Smith but trailed by four at halftime and lost 64-51.
GHS pulled within two, 35-33, on a shot by Camden Barger during the third quarter but Lapwai outscored the Bulldogs 12-3 to finish the quarter. Grangeville ended up 12-for-22 at the foul line for the contest, but nevertheless closed within 58-51 after Bailey Vanderwall blocked a shot with about two minutes left in the fourth.
“They had too many open looks underneath the basket on their out of bounds plays, so that is something else we can work on in practice this week,” Barger said. “I liked that we never backed down to their level of play. ... We need to get our posts scoring more in the paint to get the inside-out game going earlier. That will be our focus this week.”
Barger scored game-highs of 22 against Lapwai and 17 at Orofino. Vanderwall scored double-digits both nights (10 and 13), and Zoe Lutz scored a season high 11 at Orofino.
With Colton scheduled after press time Tuesday, Jan. 14, and with varsity games at Nezperce and at St. Maries coming up, Grangeville (11-3, 1-0 CIL) “should dominate both offensively and defensively against St. Maries, but we are not going to overlook anyone,” Barger said. “All of these programs have great coaches with a great tradition of successful basketball.”