Crescent Valley finishes strong

Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2010

You couldn't blame Crescent Valley girls' basketball team if it came out flat against South Anchorage after a narrow overtime defeat against the Crimson Bears on Tuesday night, but the team from Corvallis, Ore., didn't entertain any such thoughts.

The Raiders stormed out to a 16-6 advantage after the first quarter and only pushed the lead from there as they ended their first appearance in the 20th Annual Princess Cruises Capital City Classic with a convincing 57-39 victory.

While the Wolverines did not record a win in the tournament, they did not go out without a fight. Crescent Valley coach Craig Ellingson said he knew this game would have some pushing and shoving.

"I thought it was very physical, and that was good for us. That was good for us to play a really physical team," he said. "(South) came in here and improved as it went on because I think Juneau(-Douglas) was very physical with them."

But the Raiders overcame the rough play to overwhelm the Wolverines behind 23 points from Hannah Doran. The Crescent Valley senior stuffed the stat sheet, nailing three 3-pointers and going 10 of 14 from the charity stripe.

Ellingson added this was a great early season learning experience, especially considering the team implemented a defensive strategy it has seldom used before in the past.

"It's been really good for us. We don't usually play a zone, but we put one in before we came here to try and deter some of the better post play we'll see in Juneau(-Douglas)," he said. "We felt like it worked, so we're happy with that. We really wanted to improve in that area."

Junior Eleanor Hammond was the Raiders' second-leading scorer with eight points of her own, and senior Tara Gakstatter rounded out the team's top three scorers with six.

It was a tough tournament for the Wolverines as they were outscored 183-84 in the three-day span. But the team improved its offensive output with each game, and senior Taylor Coberly-Vincek's 14 points were a bright spot for her squad on Wednesday. Coberly-Vincek converted four 3-pointers in the team's final game, three of which came in the fourth quarter before she fouled out late in the contest. She also added an early bucket inside during the first quarter.

Senior Julie Stark added six points for South Anchorage while sophomore guard Sierra Mains pitched in five of her own.

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