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Spartans bring home third-place trophy

— The Granger girls basketball team grabbed third-place honors at the 2016 1A Hardwood Classic this weekend after Saturday’s victory over Nooksack Valley, 56-46.

The Spartans were looking to go all the way after winning the opening game over Kalama 42-37, before falling to eventual champions Lynden Christian 53-30 Friday night in the semifinals.

“They were better than us,” coach Andy Affholter said. “But we played well despite our height difference.”

Granger was looking to finish the tournament on a high note as they took on Nooksack Valley on Saturday.

The game began with Arlissa Oettel of Nooksack making a three to give it an early lead, but the Spartans answered as Jay Vasquez made one from downtown to even it up. The Pioneers would go on a 5-0 run as Granger went behind again, but it wasn’t long before the girls would go 11-2 to end the first quarter ahead 14-10.

In the second quarter, the Granger girls continued where they left off in the first, as they scored 10 unanswered points to build a 14-point lead midway through the second. Nooksack Valley scored eight points just before the half ended to pull within six at intermission.

With the break over and the teams back on the court, both teams opened up the second half with a three. Alexis Castro of Granger hit a jumper to start a 16-7 run to build on the lead as Spartans went up 46-28 with only eight minutes left in the game.

There was only one quarter left in the tournament for both teams, and the Spartans were looking to hold on to lead as the final period began. The fourth opened up with Brianna Turner of Nooksack Valley making a jumper to cut the margin to 13. Despite outscoring Granger in the fourth, the lead was too much for the Pioneers to come back from as Granger would win the third-place trophy.

“The game went our way and we played a good game overall,” Affholter said.

The Granger girls made 11 treys through the course of the game which would be a tournament record for made 3-pointers in a single game. They’d finish with 20 3-point field goals made in the whole tourney, just five shy of the record.

Alexis Castro led all scorers with 13 points, Naya Rottger would get 11 points scoring seven of those in the fourth quarter.

Arlissa Oettel and Emilia Gimmaka had 10 points apiece for the Pioneers.

The Spartans end the season with a 23-4 record and placed third for the second time in school history.

“It was overall a great year and we had a lot of fun,” Affholter said. “The team will lose four girls but we have lots of girls in our ranks that will be able to step-up next year and fill in those spots... we look promising.”


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