WINLOCK — Onalaska junior Brooklyn Sandridge had been having an off-night offensively all night during the Loggers’ road battle with Winlock on Friday. And with the game on the line, she was forced to take the most important shot of the game.
Tied at 39 with 25 seconds to go, Sandridge drove baseline, looked for her posts who were blanketed, felt Cardinals’ defenders closing in and pulled up for a mid-range jumper with 19.8 second left. Swish.
Sandridge drained the go-ahead bucket and eventual game winner as the Loggers held on for a 41-39 barnburner of a win.
“I was thinking please don’t miss. I really thought it was short,” Sandridge said. “I just prayed it would go in. I’ve been off this entire night, so I’ve been passing it. I thought, ‘this is my chance to take it right now and hopefully it goes in. This is my chance to redeem myself after this very bad game.’”
She certainly redeemed herself as the Loggers took a hard-earned victory over a rising Cardinals team that added three Pe Ell players in the offseason, including 2021 1B Columbia Valley League first-teamer Charlie Carper, who averaged 17 points per game last season.
At first, it looked as though Ony might run away with as the Loggers jumped out to an 8-0 with a suffocating full-court press that stymied Winlock’s offensive sets. But a timeout by Winlock coach Dracy McCoy finally steadied the Cards and set up a back-and-forth battle the rest of the way.
“I spoke to the girls about calming down and regaining their composure, and let them know they can play with this team. The girls don’t have a lot of experience in big games, and they have to get used to that and I have to coach them through that.”
Winlock entered the contest with a 2-0 record after blowing out both Three Rivers Christian and Class 1A Castle Rock to start the season. Onalaska had suffered a season-opening defeat to 2B power Raymond before rocking South Bend and Toutle Lake.
And in what was the game of the week in Lewis County, Winlock and Onalaska didn’t disappoint a packed house.
Winlock went on a 6-1 run midway through the second quarter to cut the deficit to 13-11. Addison Hall scored 11 of her game-high 17 in the first half to help the Cardinals trail 17-16 at the half.
But Onalaska kept its full-court press going against a Cardinals’ team that stuck with its starters nearly the entire contest.
Only built a 35-28 lead at the start of the fourth quarter after a Sandridge 3-pointer before the Cardinals ripped off a 9-3 run to cut the lead to 35-34 with three minutes to go.
Hall tied it up at 39 with 50 seconds left, then Sandridge drained the go-ahead jumper with 19.8 seconds on the clock as Winlock’s final shot fell short with five seconds on the clock.
“Winlock is a very tough team,” Onalaska coach Alana Olson said. “They have some really strong players. It was a battle right from the tip off to the last second. Obviously, it’s nice to be on the winning side, but those kind of intense games are where you get better. That’s where players get that experience that are going to help you down the road.”
Callie Lawrence and Dakota Hamilton led the Loggers with 10 points and six steals each, while Morgan Hamilton had a team-high six rebounds.
For Winlock, McCoy said despite the loss, she was happy with the competitiveness she saw from her team in their first real test of the season so far.
“I’m proud,” McCoy said. “We had a slow start but we came back, worked hard and almost pulled off a win. I’m very happy with the girls and their play. The only improvement is we need to start a little quicker.”
Hall added 10 rebounds and five steals to her 17 points. Charlie Carper finished with 10 points, four rebounds and two steals. Madison Vigre contributed eight points, three rebounds and two steals.
Winlock (2-1) hosts Adna on Monday. Onalaska (2-1) travels to Rainier for a 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.