Chugiak's Erinn Scotland eyes the basket as West's Pauline Tufi (22) applies the defense during West's 38-34 win at Chugiak on Feb. 15. Scotland scored 10 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the losing effort for Chugiak.
STAR PHOTO by MATT TUNSETH
It may not seem like much, but for the Eagle River girls, a 64-36 loss on Feb. 15 at Eagle River was actually a big step forward.
"We're just doing everything better overall," said Wolves coach Terra Bingham after her team recorded its highest-scoring game of the season.
Bingham said her squad was able to attack Service's full-court zone press to get easy lay-ups, eventually forcing the Cougars to abandon their pressure attack.
"Teams are actually taking their press off now," Bingham said.
Dana Panfil led Eagle River with 13 points, while freshman Sam Coy added nine and sophomore Danielle Crow scored six in her varsity debut after making the leap from the Wolves' C-team.
"She did a really good job," Bingham said.
The loss was Eagle River's best performance of the past week. The Wolves lost 41-19 to Bartlett on Feb. 9 and fell 75-16 to Dimond on Feb. 11. The three losses dropped the squad to 0-16 overall and 0-10 in the CIC.
One of these days, the law of averages says the Chugiak girls will find themselves on the right end of a tight ballgame.
Feb. 15 was not that day.
The Mustangs fell 38-34 to West at home, the team's fourth conference loss in a row. In its last three games, Chugiak has been outscored by a combined 12 points.
For coach Ryan Hales, the close losses are something to learn from.
"It's a good tool for us," Hales said after his team fell to 5-13 overall and 4-6 in the CIC against West. "It will help us later on when we're forced to play in close games."
One of the main culprits in the Mustangs' recent slide has been Bartlett, which beat Chugiak earlier this month at the Dimond Lady Lynx tournament and then dealt the Mustangs a heartbreaking 39-38 overtime CIC loss on Feb. 11. The Mustangs also fell 62-55 to East on Feb. 9.
Hales said his team's habit of turning the ball over in key situations has been its downfall.
"The bottom line is simple we've got to stop turning the ball over," he said.
Chugiak coughed the rock up 26 times against West, 13 in each half. The Mustangs didn't shoot very well, either, hitting just 28 percent of their field goal attempts and missing their final five shots after cutting the lead to 35-33 on a Jessica Tramp jumper with two minutes to go.
"I think we did a lot of good things, it's just the turnovers," Hales said.
Erinn Scotland had a big game for the Mustangs, notching a team-high 10 points and hauling down 13 rebounds. Mollie Matthis added nine points and five steals, while Kelsey Heller and Tramp scored five each.
PREP BASKETBALL SCORES
Bartlett 41, Eagle River 19, East 62, Chugiak 55
Bartlett 39, Chugiak 38 (OT), Dimond 75, Eagle River 16
West 38, Chugiak 34, Service 64, Eagle River 36
This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, February 16, 2011.