NORTH BEND — Heading into Friday’s Midwestern League game against visiting Crater, North Bend’s girls basketball team expected the Comets to apply some pressure.

The Bulldogs got more than they expected as Crater was relentless in its full-court trap, building a big early lead on the way to a 54-27 win over North Bend.

Crater improved to 3-0 in league play and North Bend fell to 2-2.

On film, they weren’t as aggressive trapping the ball,” North Bend coach Mike Forrester said. “Tonight they were all over us and we couldn’t do anything with it. They trapped us everywhere.”

Crater forced 13 turnovers in the first quarter and nine more in the second while building a 26-10 halftime advantage. The Bulldogs had eight turnovers before attempting a shot, though when they finally did break the press, Hannah Lillebo scored off an assist by Haley Snelgrove. 

North Bend took care of the ball better in the third quarter, but couldn’t convert opportunities on offense until an 8-0 run late in the quarter after Crater had gone up 37-13.

“We couldn’t get any easy buckets to get them out of (the press),” Forrester said.

And North Bend never did hit any outside shots — from 3-point range or closer — limiting any chance to make a charge against the taller Comets.

Crater’s height advantage made a big difference in the trapping press.

“They’re really strong and physical,” Snelgrove said. “We would have people wide open, but we can’t get it to them because they are so tall.”

But North Bend got better as the game went on.

“We talked about at half how to beat the trap,” Megan Proett said.

Unfortunately, except for the third-quarter run, which included a pair of baskets by Snelgrove in addition to hoops from Hayden Markel and Preott, North Bend never strung points together.

Still, the Bulldogs found some things to be happy with, including how hard they kept battling and how they rebounded against the Comets.

“We worked hard on our rebounds this week,” Snelgrove said.

“I thought for their size, we didn’t let down,” added Proett, who finished with a team-best six boards. Snelgrove added five rebounds, five steals and three assists and scored 12 points to lead the Bulldogs. Markel, who sat nearly the entire first half after picking up her second foul early, added six points.

Eliza Idiart led Crater with 14 points and Maya Van Hook and Averi Young added nine each. Young, the tallest of the Comets at 6-2 (North Bend’s tallest player is Lillebo at 5-9), had seven rebounds, two blocks and six steals, with her long arms knocking down North Bend passes.

North Bend remains optimistic four games into the league season, with both league losses coming to top-10 teams.

“I feel like we’re kind of proving ourselves,” Proett said. “As a team, we’ve improved so much since last year.”

They expect to be ready for the trap when they meet the Comets in Central Point. Forrester said that falls on him.

“I need to do a better job preparing them,” he said.

The Bulldogs, who played their first home league game Friday, are on the road again at Willamette on Tuesday and Ashland on Friday.

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Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or by email at john.gunther@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jguntherworld.