DIXON – Brooke Bailey sank two free throws with 6 minutes left in the second quarter Monday to draw the Dixon Duchesses within a point of the Oregon Hawks at Lancaster Gym.
The free throws seemed like they might turn the tide in Dixon’s direction in what, up to that point, had been a back-and-forth affair.
The opposite happened, as the Hawks took flight and didn’t rest until they had a 57-34 win in a nonconference game.
“We realized that they were trying to isolate Sam [Lambrigtsen] and Emy [Wright] when we were on offense,” Oregon senior forward Devyn Absher said. “The rest of us had to be more active on offense. We had to cut to the lane and try to get in good post position.”
After both teams went more than a minute without a score, Absher hit a jumper in the lane to put Oregon up 18-15.
A couple of possessions later, Absher was part of the play that broke the game open by missing the second of two free throws.
Dixon’s Taylor Colby had good position for the rebound, but Absher was able to hit the ball away from her.
The ball found its way to McKaylee Beeter, who proceeded to sink a 3-pointer that put Oregon (10-3) up 26-15.
The Hawks ended up going on a 14-0 run and outscored Dixon (4-8) 21-3 the rest of the half after Bailey made the free throws that made it a one-point game.
“We had to pick up our defense to create our offense,” Oregon coach Kristy Eckardt said. “We got more active defensively, and that started to create turnovers that led to easier shots.”
The turnovers also took the Duchesses out of the game plan that had worked during the first quarter.
Dixon kept the score close early with a patient offense that consistently worked the ball to Bailey, who scored six of her 22 points in the first quarter. It also prevented the Hawks from getting transition buckets.
“Once you start getting turnovers, it makes it hard to do the things you want to do on both ends,” Dixon coach Luke Ravlin said. “We couldn’t set up our half-court defense, which was playing well, and our offense just wasn’t as effective.”
Oregon also adjusted to Bailey, not allowing her quite as many touches.
“We were just trying to make her work harder away from the ball,” Absher said. “We had to work through screens so that she couldn’t get open. She such a good player that it’s tough to stop her.”
Dixon trailed 37-18 at half. Junior guard Sam Lambrigtsen had three steals for Oregon in the third quarter that resulted in six points on the other end. Two she took in for layups, the third she dished off for an assist.
“We’re just trying to get better each day,” Ravlin said. “That’s a very good team that’ll compete in a tough conference and should make some noise in 2A. They have so many players out there that you have to watch out for.”
Lambrigtsen led Oregon with 14 points, six steals and four assists. Absher and Beeter each had 13 points. Absher led the team with five rebounds.
By the start of the fourth quarter, both teams had emptied their benches.
Star of the game: Sam Lambrigtsen, Oregon, 14 points, 6 steals, 4 assists
Key performers: Devyn Absher, Oregon, 13 points, 6 rebounds; McKaylee Beeter, Oregon, 13 points, 4 rebounds; Brooke Bailey, Dixon, 22 points, 3 rebounds
Up next: Rock Falls at Oregon, 7:15 p.m. Friday; Boylan at Dixon 4:30 p.m. Dec. 27