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Ashley Strain

Bandon's Ashley Strain dribbles downcourt during a game earlier this season. Strain and the Tigers finished the year with a 3-7 league record. 

Bethany Baker, The World

Bandon’s girls basketball team got a big win over Reedsport during the final week of the season to build momentum for the future.

The Tigers topped Reedsport 33-18 last Friday night before losing to Gold Beach 44-21 in the season finale on Tuesday. The Panthers shared the regular-season title with Toledo.

Bandon finished at 3-8 and first-year coach Jordan Sammons said repeatedly during the season he was happy with his team’s growth.

“I am so proud of the girls,” he said. “We have improved so much from the first game until now, in all aspects of the game. We were blessed with having an extremely hard-working and a great group of kids.

“It didn’t matter the score, the outcome or the talent level of either team, we always just wanted to be the hardest-working team on the court and the girls really bought into that.”

In Friday’s win over Reedsport, Nikki Lakey had 13 points and Ashley Strain added eight. The Tigers held the Brave to 11 first-half points and just seven after halftime.

On Tuesday, Strain had seven points and Nikki Lakey four to lead Bandon.

The Tigers limited the Panthers to 15 first-half points, but couldn’t get any offense going for themselves until the second half.

“I was happy with tonight’s performance,” Sammons said. “The first time around, we got down 22-4 early and it never really was a competitive game. Tonight most of the game we were able to keep it competitive, even being within 10 halfway through the third quarter.

“Gold Beach is a good team. They play tough and are talented, so I was happy with the way we battled and fought to stay in the game.”

Despite the loss in the finale, the game was like so many others during the season.

“Of course, we would have liked to win a few more games, and we had a few good wins, but no matter whether we won or lost, they never made any excuses and just showed up the next day ready to work hard,” Sammons said. “From our captains and our starters on down, the girls lead by example. They push each other to work hard, to be coachable and just to get better every day.

“We are playing our best basketball here in February and that’s all you can ask for. They are all excited to keep pushing and for summer ball, and we are returning everyone in our rotation next year.”

Sammons is looking forward to that.

“We are all excited for the future,” he said. “Good things are coming for this group of girls, on and off the court, and I couldn’t have picked a better group to have this year. I am proud of every single one of them.”

After Tuesday’s game, a couple of the players asked if he would open the gym for them Wednesday morning before school so they could get an early start on next season.

“That just kinda sums up our year and the group of girls we have,” he said. “We know the potential we have and we have a goal in mind for where we want to be and we are going to work hard all offseason to get there.”