DIXON – It took the Oregon girls basketball team more than two quarters to dig out of the hole it put itself in against Dunlap.
It took 2 minutes for the Hawks to put themselves in another hole.
Oregon fought an uphill battle virtually the entire game against Dunlap before dropping a 57-48 decision on Friday in a quarterfinal matchup at the Dixon Holiday Tournament.
The Eagles (8-5) scored the game’s first 11 points, and didn’t lead by fewer than six before settling for a 31-22 halftime lead. Oregon (10-5) was able stay in touch largely because of senior guard Sam Lambrigtsen, who had 15 points at the break.
The Hawks were down 38-28 when they made their move. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Lambrigtsen and Emy Wright got Oregon to within four points, then a pair of layups by Lambrigtsen evened the score at 38-38 with 2 minutes left in the third quarter.
Dunlap, however, responded with a 10-0 run the remainder of the period. A 3-pointer by Madison Lowe ignited the surge, and another trey by Lowe with 5 seconds left in the third quarter finished it off.
“That number 2 [Lambrigtsen] is a good ballplayer,” Dunlap coach Heather Cassady said. “I don’t know if we’ve seen anybody quite that athletic going to the rim. I told the girls they were going to make a run at you, but you just have to handle it with poise and confidence.”
Oregon got to within six points twice in the fourth quarter, the last time after a basket by Lambrigtsen with 2:10 to play. She fouled out, however, at the 2:06 mark, hurting the Hawks’ comeback chances.
“I was just really proud of the girls’ effort, coming back and coming back,” Oregon coach Kristy Eckardt said. “You could see in their eyes the whole time, they believed they were going to come back and win that game. A lot of shots weren’t falling for us when we needed them, and balls weren’t bouncing our way.”
Lambrigtsen led the Hawks with 26 points, while Wright added 17 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Wright hit her first three 3-point attempts in the third quarter to help Oregon get back into the game.
As is often the case, Oregon had trouble with an opponents’ size. Dunlap owned a 41-23 rebounding advantage, giving the Eagles extra chances to score.
“Once they dumped the ball inside, we were really scrambling to knock the ball away,” Eckardt said, “but there’s only so much you can do when you’re a lot shorter.”
Lowe led Dunlap with 24 points, including a 5-for-10 performance from 3-point rage. Kristeen Morgan finished with 13 points, while Brianna Henson (nine), Elizabeth Zoz (eight) and Damilola Taiwo (eight) combined for 25 rebounds.
Dunlap 57, Oregon 48
Star of the game: Sam Lambrigtsen (O) 26 points
Key performers: Emy Wright (O) 17 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals; Madison Lowe (D), 24 points
Up next: Oregon vs. Stillman Valley, 9 a.m. Saturday