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North Bend Girls Vs. Thurston

North Bend's Hayden Markel shoots during a game agaoinst Thurston at North Bend High School on Friday.

NORTH BEND — It was a program-building win for the North Bend girls basketball team on Friday night.

Haley Snelgrove scored 15 points with clutch free throws down the stretch, Megan Proett scored 12 points with clutch mid-range jumpers in the final period, and the Bulldogs held on for a 47-40 win over the Thurston Colts. Megan Miller had 14 in the loss with 11 coming before halftime for the Colts.

“I’ll tell you, this is maybe our biggest win of the year,” Bulldogs coach Mike Forrester said. “I think Thurston’s a good basketball team and I thought our kids held their composure at the end. They did all the little things right that they need to do. I just gotta think this is a big confidence boost for our girls.”

It took North Bend a bit to get going, scoring just five first-quarter points and facing a nine-point deficit after the initial period.

The Bulldogs were just 2-of-8 from the floor in the first quarter against Thurston’s zone, but only committed two turnovers, meaning the offense wasn’t out of sync necessarily, it just wasn’t hitting shots.

Between quarters, the Bulldogs told each other that quarters like the first are unacceptable.

“The quarter ended and we got to the bench and we’re like, ‘Guys, we have to do better than five points a quarter,’ Proett said. ‘We can’t win if we’re gonna play like this. Be confident. We got this.’”

Adrianna Frank provided the spark, hitting a 3-pointer on North Bend’s first possession in the second quarter that started a run.

“She hit that 3 and basketball’s a game of streaks and we went on our streak,” Proett said.

North Bend scored the next 11 points, rolling through a Thurston timeout to turn a 14-5 deficit into a 16-14 lead. For the remainder of the ballgame, North Bend never trailed by more than three and led by as many as six.

Frank’s shot settled the Bulldogs offense down in a way that allowed it to patiently find the holes in Thurston’s zone. Hayden Markel had six first-half points before getting into foul trouble later in the game. Proett found space in the short corner and wing inside the 3-point line and Snelgrove knifed to the basket.

Thurston went into the locker room up 21-20 after Jaelynne Birkby hit her second first-half 3-pointer, setting up what would be a tight finish.

Sparked by a Randee Cunningham three-point play, North Bend scored the first seven points of the third quarter to build a 27-21 lead, its biggest of the game.

But Thurston, young though it is, responded. Birkby, who finished with 10 points, added two baskets sandwiched around a Heidi Norman hoop and it was tied again at 27.

The rest of the second half, there were three ties and five lead changes with no team holding an advantage greater than three points until the very end.

Proett scored five straight, three to close the third quarter and two early in the fourth, as North Bend took a 34-31 lead.

Then Thurston ripped off six straight with Miller scoring for the first time since the second quarter and Hailey Williams and Quealey Carpenter adding points in the run.

But, once again, North Bend had an answer.

Makoa Matthews scored her only points, Proett added a free throw, then Snelgrove tossed in two of her eight fourth-quarter free throws for a 39-37 lead.

Thurston itself responded with a free throw from Miller, her last point of the night. Another basket from Williams gave Thurston its last lead at 40-39 with 1:52 to go.

Proett hit another mid-range jumper to give the Bulldogs a 41-40 lead with 1:31 left and Snelgrove hit six free throws in the final 30 seconds or so to wrap up the win.

“We made free throws at the end of the game tonight, and that was big,” Forrester said. “We haven’t been a great free throw shooting team this year.”

With the win, North Bend keeps its playoff hopes in good shape as well as builds confidence. With North Bend’s win Friday night and an Eagle Point loss to Willamette, the Bulldogs now sit two games in front of the Eagles in fourth place in the Midwestern League and would have a spot in the Class 5A playoffs if they finish the season there.

“We’re really happy,” Proett said. “This was a big, big win for us. It also helps with confidence. Last time we played them we went to double overtime and we won, and that was like, ‘Yes, we can do this.’ Last time we played them they had 52 rebounds or something. And tonight I’m pretty sure if we didn’t outrebound them we had just as many. I think we really worked hard. It was a good win (and) we needed it.”

North Bend visits Bandon for a nonleague game on Tuesday before resuming league play with a trip to Crater, which has just one league loss, on Friday.

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Sports Reporter