Lady Cubs shock Hidden Valley in overtime


GRANTS PASS — A pressure-cooker defense barbequed Hidden Valley’s goose in overtime Saturday as the Newport girls advanced to the “Final Eight” of 4A championship basketball on a 37-31 upset victory.

Four Cubs made all their points in an endurance contest where Newport overcame a daunting size disadvantage, double-teaming Hidden Valley’s 6 foot center and muscling their way to the basket. Megan Wagner led Cubs scoring with 15 points, injured Kaitlyn Mitchell had 12, while sisters Madison and Halle Hargett added 6 and 4 points, respectively.

“We came with a lot of fire,” Wagner said after the game, describing the “back and forth battle” as a measure of the team’s growing skill. “Even though we beat them (59-51) early in the season, they weren’t the same team. But neither were we.”

The low-scoring match worked to the Cubs’s favor as they batted and blocked Hidden Valley possessions, preventing the Mustang breakaway experts from extending a 10-game winning streak in the Skyline Conference.

Risking and drawing fouls, the Cubs banked on the ‘Stangs’s woeful 33 percent free-shooting accuracy while Newport shot in the high 60s, with Wagner, Mitchell and the Hargetts growing a thin overtime lead from the charity stripe. Wagner also dropped a stunning three-pointer with barely two minutes left, shifting the momentum to Newport.

Hidden Valley gave as good as it got, however. Co-coach Kurt Hargett likened the quarter-final clash to a “football game” that left girls on both sides bloodied from elbows and roughhouse collisions.

“It was a very weirdly called game,” he remarked. “There were a lot of blatant things that should have been fouls with kids going down on both sides.”

Hidden Valley was the odds-on favorite as a sixth seeded team in the first round of 16, mainly based on their size and 10-0 domination of the Skyline Conference.  Newport, seeded 12th, was 8-4 in the Oregon West, though both squads shared a 16-8 overall record before the playoff.

The Newport girls now advance to the state finals in Forest Grove at Pacific University, where they have a 3:15 p.m. tipoff slated Thursday, March 7. Hargett said winning coach Eddie Townsend of Toledo, fresh off a third-place boys’ title, is helping the Cubs prepare for the game.


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