Grizzlies start hot, ride Gida, Van Vleck to another SSC rout

As an inside joke, several Ashland Grizzlies wrote the word "stroke," as in shooting stroke, on their arms prior to Wednesday's game against Klamath Union.

The punchline may have been lost on the visiting Pelicans, who fell behind 11-0 in the first three-and-a-half minutes thanks mostly to those strokes, and wound up on the losing end of a 55-32 Southern Sky Conference laugher.

Playing in front of a sparse crowd at Mountain Avenue Gym, the sixth-ranked Grizzlies rode the hot start of Drew Van Vleck and the all-around play of Allison Gida to a 24-6 lead after one quarter. Van Vleck broke out of a shooting slump to hit three 3-pointers in the first six minutes, finishing with 13 points, while Gida was Gida. The senior point guard netted 14 points in the first three quarters before sitting out the last four minutes of the third and all of the fourth as the Grizzlies nursed a huge lead.

"(Defense) was all (Van Vleck) was going to think about tonight, and I think that took a little pressure off her offense," Ashland coach Tom McCracken said. "She hit three 3's in her first three attempts and that's the kind of player we know she is. . . . She was more relaxed, I think, offensively."

Callie McCoy added eight points and Willie Michiels and Katie Shulenberger six apiece for the Grizzlies, who have won seven games in a row to improve to 14-5 overall, 6-0 in the SSC.

Paige Holloway led Klamath Union (6-12, 1-4 SSC) with 14 points and Callie Porter added eight.

Ashland's lead never dipped below 17 points after the first quarter and the Grizzlies led by as many as 27 in the third before Gida's exit was quickly followed by a mini KU rally. The Pelicans went on a 9-2 run after Ashland's play-maker left for good, but the Grizzlies still led by 20 and coasted to its fourth 15-plus-point win in six league games.

The beating started early.

Van Vleck drilled a 3 30 seconds into the game to put Ashland ahead for good, and back-to-back 3s by Gida and Van Vleck pushed the lead to 11-0 and led to a KU timeout with 4:29 to go in the first quarter.

Van Vleck added another clean trey two minutes later to make it 20-4, and Gida scored back-to-back buckets to cap Ashland's spectacular opening quarter.

"Personally, my confidence is starting to build back up," Van Vleck said.

Ashland only marginally upped its lead in the second, taking a 37-18 halftime lead, but erased all doubt by scoring the first eight points of the third — four by Gida.

Ashland has six games left on its regular season schedule starting Tuesday at Mazama. After that, it's on to the league playoffs, then, barring a complete collapse, the state playoffs. Between now and then, the Grizzlies say they have plenty to work on.

"Coach says we are where we want to be for conference, but not where we want to be for (the state playoffs), so we're still working on the fundamentals," Gida said.

KLAMATH UNION (32) — Gardner 4, Porter 8, Burns 2, Holloway 14, Silva 4, Gardner 0, Gonzalez 0, Silva 0. Totals: 12 7-14 32.

ASHLAND (55) — Shulenberger 6, Van Vleck 13, Sturges 2, Minor 2, McCoy8, Patton 4, Gida 14, Michiels 6, Kasiah 0, Reynolds 0, Pavlich 0, Thornton 0. Totals: 24 3-3 55.

Klamath Union 6 12 7 7 - 32

Ashland 24 13 10 8 - 55

3-point goals — Klamath Union 1 (Gardner), Ashland 4 (Van Vleck 3, Gida 1). Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — Ashland 1 (coach Tom McCracken).

Boys Basketball

Billy Hansen might have earned himself a new nickname after his incandescent performance on Wednesday at Klamath Falls.

Mr. Clutch.

Hansen scored 19 points, knocking down a key 3-point field-goal attempt and finishing strong at the free-throw line in eighth-ranked Ashland's thrilling 63-61 overtime victory over Southern Sky Conference rival Klamath Union.

Jordan Resch was equally important, logging 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Grizzlies.

Hansen. who poured in 13 of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime, put Ashland up 50-48 with 12 seconds left in regulation. Klamath Union's Dylan Bartolomei responded with a clutch backdoor lay-up right as the buzzer sounded to tie the contest.

Adam Pavlich added 12 points and eight assists and Mason Costantino scored 11 points for Grizzlies (12-6, 5-1), who turned up the heat in overtime. Hansen went 5-for-5 from the charity stripe in OT.

Randy Denson led the Pelicans with 14 points.

ASHLAND (63) Hansen 19, Costantino 11, Resch 17, Pavlich 12, Kendall 4, Foley, Chasmar, Hipchko. Totals: 23 12-19 63.

KLAMATH UNION (61) Denson 14, Bartolomei 13, Chavarria 9, Kochenderfer 8, Miles 5, McLaughlin 8, Alstork 4, Whisler. Totals: 22 11-18 61.

Ashland 16 9 13 12 13 — 63

KU 10 18 7 15 11 — 61

3-point goals Ashland 5 (Hansen 3, Costantino, Resch), Klamath Union 6 (Chavarria 3, Denson 2, Bartolomei). Fouled out Kochenderfer. Technical fouls Foley.

JV score Klamath Union 50, Ashland 48.

Staff writers contributed to this report.

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