(Photos by Josh Mills, Staff)
DELTA -- The Oran Lady Eagles were three points shy of a fifth place finish Saturday afternoon as they fell to the Woodland Lady Cardinals 42-39 in the Delta New Year's Tournament. The Lady Eagles had two offensive opportunities in the final 20 seconds to knock down the 3-pointer, but a stripped ball and tight defense by the Lady Cardinals held off the shot as they managed to exit Delta with a victory.
The key to the victory for Woodland was their offensive showing in the first quarter which saw them gain a quick 12-point lead, 14-2, heading into the second quarter. Oran bounced back in the second quarter however, and managed to outscore their opponent 15-7 to trail at halftime 21-17.
In the second half, the Lady Eagles managed to finally take a lead as they went up 35-33 in the fourth quarter with 5:23 remaining on the clock. The Lady Cardinals exchanged the lead with Oran several times before they finally charged ahead via the free throw line where they knocked down three critical shots in the final 42 seconds.
"We didn't execute our game plan in the first half," said Friga after the game. "We knew (Lauren) Johnson would be tough on the boards and we knew (Taylor) Steckman was a key part of their (Woodland's) offense to get them going. We talked about them and we just didn't execute in the first half. We dug a hole and that was the difference in the ballgame."
Steckman finished with a team-high 14 points for the Lady Cardinals in the victory. Johnson added nine as did Becky Brannon.
As for Oran, Cheyanne King led the way with 19 points while Mangels added five, including a 3-pointer.
Amanda Williams and Taylor Tenkhoff each scored four for the Lady Eagles.
"We battled them tough," Friga said of his opponent. "I'm proud of the kids for playing hard. They didn't hang their heads, but it doesn't matter though because at the end of the day, it got us beat because we didn't come out ready to play in the first quarter."
Up next for the Lady Eagles, 2-4, is the Scott-Miss Tournament which begins today. Oran will take on the Charleston Lady Bluejays at 4 p.m. at Kelly High School.
"It'll be a good game for us," said Friga of Oran's first round opponent, Charleston. "We're excited about it. We're getting to play against a good team and it'll make us better."
NOTES -- Delta won the third place game 43-32 while Meadow Heights beat Valle 59-44 to win the championship.