By Shawn Harrison
Logan scored first, but the lead lasted just 11 seconds.
Preston responded with an 8-2 run and never looked back Tuesday afternoon at Crimson Gym. The Lady Indians weathered several dryspells in the scoring department and put the clamps on the Grizzlies for long stretches to cruise to a 56-35 win.
“We had a rough game last week and wanted to get off to a better start,” said Preston’s Kylie Larsen, who recorded another double-double with game highs in points (21) and rebounds (12). “This was an improvement for us.”
Larsen was a force in the paint and came up big in the fourth quarter. The senior had 11 of her points in the final period and also grabbed six rebounds over the final eight minutes.
“Kylie has been big for us all year,” Preston head coach Ryan Harris said. “... It was good to see her get into a rhythm and into a flow.”
Logan (3-3) had pulled to within 46-35 with 3:05 minutes to play. The Grizzlies used a 12-4 surge to get back in the game. Amber Kartchner drilled a 3-pointer to start the run and also converted a three-point play. Kartchner, who was slowed with an injured knee that happened on Monday, had seven of her team-best 13 points during that two-and-a-half minutes timespan.
“It took her (Kartchner) longer to get going than usual,” Grizzly head coach Morganne Madsen said.
Preston didn’t do anything extra special on Kartchner, but did try to help when she drove to the basket. The Grizzly senior was sent to the foul line nine times, making six.
“She (Kartchner) is a good player, a very good player,” Larsen said. “We knew we had to play good defense and also play help defense.”
“I wanted to play Logan because in our classification Burley has a girl that is pretty darn tough and like Amber can take over a game,” Harris said. “Getting Logan on the schedule was key to us so we could guard that type of player. Any time we get the opportunity to player an elite player the caliber of Amber, that is good for us.”
After the Logan run, Larsen took over. She scored, was fouled and made the free throw. Larsen then grabbed an offensive rebound and scored. After a bucket in the paint, Larsen hauled in another offensive board and scored. Preston (11-3) finished the game with a 10-0 run, with Larsen scoring nine of the points.
“I was just thinking, hey, let’s get to work and get this done,” Larsen said. “I’ve had a couple of bum games and felt I needed to go and in the fourth quarter I came alive.”
Joining Larsen in double-figure scoring was Sydnee Marlow with 18 points. Marlow also had nine rebounds. Riley Ward had six assists.
“That is senior leadership,” Harris said of Marlow and Larsen. “Both of them really stepped up.”
Joining Kartchner in double-digit scoring was Taylor Rose with 11 points. Tawnee Tubbs led the Grizzlies with seven rebounds. Izabelle Rudd had four assists, and Kartchner blocked four shots.
“Our defense helped get our offense going,” Madsen said. “We had to up our intensity. ... You’ve got to give it to them (Indians). They are aggressive players and crash the boards hard. We had a hard time bodying them.”
After falling behind early, Logan was able to hang tough and only trailed 10-8 midway through the first quarter. However, Preston scored the final 10 points of the opening quarter to build a 20-8 lead as Marlow had 10 points.
“We started great,” Harris said. “If we could start every game like that, that would be great. The girls came out prepared and ready to go. We got after it good early.”
Neither team could muster much offense in the second quarter as the Grizzlies turned up the heat with a press. The Indians had just one turnover in the first quarter, but nine in the second. Preston took a 24-14 lead into the break.
“They put that press on and got us flustered a little bit,” Larsen said. “We turned it over a few times, but made it to halftime and calmed down and went back to work.”
Logan had scored the final four points of the first half and began the third with five unanswered. Alec Kennington sank a pair of free throws to pull the hosts within 24-19 less than a minute into the third.
“We have struggled all year and are still learning to play with a lead,” Harris said. “We are still working on that.”
Mickayla Roberton sank a 3-point shot off a pass from Ward, and the Indians went on a 12-2 run to end the third. They took a 38-23 lead into the final quarter.
Preston scored the first four points of the fourth before Kartchner sparked the Grizzlies for one more run.
“I think we are all very versatile,” Larsen said. “I really like our team this year.”
Logan was supposed to play at West on Thursday, but that game has been canceled because of COVID-19. The Grizzlies will play at Ogden next Monday.
“We are all just figuring out the new program and working together as a team,” Madsen said. “There are moments when it is definitely there. We just need to figure out how to have chemistry all the time.”
There were two boys teams from the valley in action Tuesday night at tournaments. Green Canyon advanced to the championship of the Idaho Falls Tournament, while Ridgeline dropped a close one at Juan Diego.
The Wolves (5-4) beat Mountain Home (Idaho) on Monday, 60-39, to end a four-game skid, then outlasted Post Falls (Idaho), 67-66, on Tuesday at the Doug Andrus Holiday Tournament in Idaho Falls. Green Canyon takes on Lake City at 1:30 p.m. for the title.
On Monday, Cade DeBoard led the Wolves with 16 points, hitting four 3-pointers. Brady Smith netted 14. Jared Anderson and Mac Echols added nine and eight points, respectively.
DeBoard led Green Canyon on Tuesday as well with 26 points. He made four shots from beyond the arc. Smith hit a trio of 3-pointers and finished with 20 points. Jace Blotter added eight points.
The Wolves overcame a 30-24 deficit at halftime against Post Falls. Green Canyon took a 48-44 lead into the final quarter.’
The Riverhawks (3-5) jumped out to a 20-12 lead after the first quarter and took a 27-23 advantage into halftime. Ridgeline was still in front heading to the fourth, but got outscored by eight in the final period.
“I was really pleased with our effort tonight,” Ridgeline head coach Kyle Day said. “The boys executed our game plan against a really solid Mountain View team. Ultimately, we got beat at the free throw line.”
The Riverhawks only made seven trips to the foul line, making five. The Bruins (6-1) went 23 of 31 from the free throw line.
“You can feel the improvement,” Day said. “It was really nice to have Kaden (Cox) back, and the guys fed off that energy. We are looking forward to a tough battle against one of the best teams in our classification tomorrow night.”
Cox had been out with a broken leg suffered in the football state playoffs. Cox returned Tuesday to lead the team with 14 points, making four 3-pointers. Spencer Adams added 11 points, while Josh Jackman chipped in eight.
Ridgeline will face host Juan Diego on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.