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North Bend Girls Vs. Eagle Point

North Bend's drives as Eagle Point's Alexa Burgess defends Friday at North Bend High School.

NORTH BEND — Throughout the first half of the Midwestern League season, North Bend’s girls repeatedly won close games. On Friday night, they lost one.

Eagle Point outscored the Bulldogs 8-2 in overtime to leave town with a 48-42 win.

The Bulldogs still finished the first half of the league season at 4-4 and will be in fourth place when the rest of the league finishes its first-round games, though Eagle Point can tie the Bulldogs by beating North Eugene on Tuesday, when North Bend has its first-half bye. But a win over the Eagles would have been a sweet way to hit the midway point. The top four teams advance to the Class 5A playoffs.

“Five and three would have been huge,” North Bend coach Mike Forrester said.

It wasn’t to be.

The Bulldogs couldn’t take advantage of bunches of opportunities at the foul line, which hadn’t cost them a game in other close league contests, but was costly Friday night. North Bend finished 12-for-25 from the line, with several of the misses coming in the tight fourth quarter.

Randee Cunningham hit two with 37 seconds left in overtime to pull North Bend within one at 43-42 after Andrea Flores had given the Eagles the lead with a three-point play.

North Bend then pressured the ball trying to foul or force a turnover and Eagle Point’s Kierssa Hogan opted to fire away from the corner and swished her fourth 3-pointer of the game. A steal and bucket gave the Eagles the final margin, sparking a big celebration for the visitors similar to what North Bend has been able to do with its own four road wins in league play.

Eagle Point’s 3-point shooting was a concern for Forrester and the Eagles hit seven in the game. But they also missed 27.

North Bend, meanwhile, did nearly all its scoring at the rim on drives to the hoop or rebound baskets. The Bulldogs didn’t make a 3-pointer (they only shot five). They also missed a lot of close shots.

“We’ve got to finish in around the basket,” Forrester said.

He blamed himself for not setting the Bulldogs up for enough opportunities.

The game was close all the way, with North Bend’s biggest lead at 14-9 in the second quarter and Eagle Point’s biggest lead three until the final seconds.

The Eagles feasted on offensive rebounds in the first half, but North Bend did a better job keeping the Eagles from second chances most of the second half as both Cunningham and Hayden Markel stepped up their rebounding.

They also were North Bend’s best scoring options in the second half when Eagle Point did a good job bottling up North Bend’s’ Haley Snelgrove and keeping her from driving. She still had 12 points to lead North Bend, while Cunningham scored 10 and Markel nine.

“I think we battled hard,” Markel said.

She finished with 10 rebounds and Cunningham nine.

North Bend had five quick turnovers, reminiscent of some earlier losses, but then took care of the ball well, with no more than two turnovers in any of the final three quarters or overtime.

And they did a better job getting out on Eagle Point’s shooters.

The Bulldogs just didn’t quite score enough.

Hogan had 18 points to lead the Eagles and Flores added 10. They were responsible for all of Eagle Point’s scoring after the third quarter.

North Bend has a one-point win, a two-point win and an overtime win on its resume from the first round of league play, along with a 10-point win over North Eugene.

“We’ve been on the other side of those three other times,” Forrester said. “This one just hurts.

“We’ll put it behind us and go play at Marshfield tomorrow night.”

Markel said the Bulldogs still are optimistic and will try to keep their heads up when they start the second round of league play at home against Churchill next Friday.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “We’ve improved so much since the beginning of the year and we’re still battling.”

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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.

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