Vikings take over in third, pull away for win over Trojans


MOSSYROCK — Halfway through Mossyrock and Pe Ell’s matchup on Wednesday night, both offenses were struggling to find answers.

The Trojans couldn’t get past Mossyrock’s constant pressure, while the Vikings were forcing the ball into a crowded paint. Through 20 minutes, neither team had cracked 20 points.

At the break, it was Mossyrock (6-6, 3-0 1B Columbia Valley) who found a way to spark their offense, and it came on the defensive end of the floor.

“We decided that when you can’t get yourself to the basket, you have to create some offense through your defense,” Mossyrock coach Autumn Moorcroft said. “Get a couple turnovers and lay-ins and hopefully that kind of gets the offense going … and we saw that happen in that third quarter.”

The Vikings took over the game in the third, as they scored the first 15 points of the quarter to open a big lead, one they rode to a 41-32 victory.

In the third quarter, Mossyrock outscored Pe Ell (6-3, 1-2 1B Columbia Valley) 17-1, and the lone Trojan point didn’t come until there was less than 90 seconds left in the frame.

“The second half, we calmed down and it fell into place a little bit,” Moorcroft said. “If we can piece together four quarters like that, that’s definitely the goal going forward.”

Throughout the game, and especially in the third quarter, the Vikings were able to extend several possessions by hauling in offensive rebounds, boards that led to second- and third-chance points.

As a team, the Vikings came away with 18 offensive rebounds, one more than Pe Ell’s defensive total of 17. On the other end of the floor, the Vikings grabbed 14 defensive rebounds, while the Trojans came down with just three offensively.

“Getting multiple opportunities on the offensive end is just more of a momentum swing,” Moorcroft said. “Defensively, if you don't let them get second-chance shots, I think that just knocks the wind out of the other team’s flow.”

Renzy Marshall and Chesney Schultz wreaked havoc inside, combining for 11 of Mossyrock’s offensive rebounds, and Marshall finished with a team-high total 11 rebounds. Those two also led the Vikings in scoring, as Marshall scored 12 and Schultz added 11.

Delaney Marshall was third on the team in scoring with nine points, and her pressure on the press led to seven steals. Mossyrock ended up coming away with 24 steals, and five Vikings tallied at least three, including Areonna France (4), Abbie Lovan, Kendall Cournyer and Schultz.

Those steals were a big part of Pe Ell’s 29 turnovers, giveaways that stalled the Trojan offense before they had a chance to get going.

“We got tired, and we got frustrated with their press,” Pe Ell coach Kelsey Lennox said. “Their pressure really got to us. We practiced a lot, we knew they were gonna press us, but it’s a young group and we haven't really seen super high caliber teams yet. It was definitely a test.”

The offense that scored just 16 points through the first three frames did find a late rhythm, as they doubled their score with 16 more in the fourth quarter to get within nine.

“Some of the girls just decided, ‘I don’t want to lay down,’” Lennox said. “If we would have played that way we did the last four minutes of that fourth quarter the whole game, I think it would be a different story.”

Brookelynn King led the way with 10 points, while Peyton Zock added nine and led the team with seven rebounds.

It’s a quick turnaround for both teams, as they are both back in action on Thursday. Pe Ell will return home to host Naselle while Mossyrock will head south to face Columbia Adventist.