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Basketball

BANDON — Myrtle Point girls basketball coach Sam Clark recalled a recent discussion with his first high school coach back when he was playing for Powers in the 1970s, following the Bobcats’ 42-20 win over Oakridge at the Bandon Dunes Holiday Invitational on Friday.

“If you can rebound, not turn the ball over, shoot free throws and play defense, you will be in pretty good shape,” Clark said.

The Bobcats did those things for the most part, leading all the way after scoring the first seven points against the Warriors to advance to the championship game in the tournament’s Gold Bracket — they will face Bonanza on Saturday after the Antlers overwhelmed Mapleton 45-9.

“I think we did really good,” said Nikki Leep, who had a game-high 24 points for the Bobcats, taking advantage of inside position and good passes from teammates for many of her baskets.

“We were looking for people really well down low.”

Kayla Wheeler, Madison Brown and Hayden Weekly all had multiple good passes inside for buckets by Leep.

The Bobcats also were pressuring Oakridge into miscues through most of the first half, eventually forcing 36 turnovers (in contrast, the Bobcats committed 14 miscues). Brown and Maddi Reynolds both had five of Myrtle Point’s 22 steals in the game.

The best news for Myrtle Point, along with the win of course, was with a comfortable lead, Clark was able to get all 11 players extensive minutes in the contest.

“We haven’t been able to do that the last couple games,” Leep said, adding that it was good to get all the players more experience on the floor.

Myrtle Point was coming off two losses a week earlier in Oakland’s tournament, and Clark said it was good to be able to focus on execution for all the players.

“It’s nice to be able to go through the things we’ve been trying to teach them,” he said, adding that several of the younger players got noticeably better as the game went on.

Reynolds and Tayler Thomas added six points each for Myrtle Point. Sierra Cargil and Emma Vestre had six points each for Oakridge and Cargil also grabbed 14 rebounds.

Myrtle Point improved to 4-8, with Saturday’s game the final tuneup before league play starts at home against Toledo on Tuesday.

“Getting this win is real good,” Leep said. “Especially going into league.”

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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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