MOSES LAKE — Nursing a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter, Big Bend head coach Preston Wilks called for an out-of-bounds play — with a slight change.
Instead of inbounding the ball, Callie Gronning would receive the ball. The freshman guard from Soda Springs, Idaho turned to her coach as if to say, “Me?”
But Wilks had confidence in Gronning, especially matched up against Olympic’s 5-foot-3-inch Libby Borgonia. Gronning caught the ensuing pass, turned the corner on a drive from the right elbow and completed a lay-up through contact. Her free throw to complete the three-point play gave Big Bend its largest lead, 49-37, with 6:41 left.
“I was a little bit nervous because I knew the play was going to be coming to me,” said Gronning, who scored eight points. “Then once I got the ball there was so much going through my mind, but then I realized I can do this and I just went back to fundamentals and used what I knew how to do and hit the top square and it went in.”
Less than 24 hours removed from a 28-turnover mess against Highline, Big Bend was able to execute early in the first quarter to build an 18-7 lead. Madison Wilcox scored seven of her team-high 15 points in the sequence.
Olympic answered with a 12-1 run that stretched into the second quarter after a three-pointer by Borgonia tied the game 19-19.
Despite the early run, the Vikings played their best defense of the season Friday, allowing a season-low 42 points and holding the Rangers to 18.5 percent from the field in the second half.
“We’re ecstatic about how that turned out,” Wilks said. “We played mostly man (defense), just straight up man in the second half, and we’ve been preaching to the girls you’re only going to be successful and have a great year if you can figure out how to just go mano a mano and figure out how to just get stops with your man defense.
“I felt like we did that tonight.”
Olympic leading-scorer Taylor Sunkel was held to nine points on 3-of-20 shooting and Diamond Carter scored nine points on nine shots.
“We really got down to the fundamentals and we became really disciplined,” Gronning said. “We knew who our shooters were, we knew our personnel and we knew that if we got our defensive rotations that our teammates would have our backs and that we would be able to execute well and get a stop.”
Big Bend stayed in control throughout the second half due in large part to timely shots.
Maddie Williams drilled a three-pointer with 2:05 left in the third quarter for an eight-point lead; Emily Allan hit a fade-away 20-footer to push the Vikings’ lead back to nine points, 44-35, at the start of the fourth quarter.
Hailey Garrity scored Big Bend’s final field goal on a cut to the basket for a lay-up and a 12-point lead 51-39.
“It was a big relief just to see us be able to secure the ball and be able to execute what our coach wanted us to,” Gronning said. “It was a good building moment and it was good for our confidence to see when we’re under pressure we can execute and we can get the job done.”
Big Bend 97, Clackamas 95
EVERETT — Big Bend started the Everett Crossover with a close win against Clackamas 97-95.
The Runnin’ Vikes trailed by one point at halftime.
Joey Andrews scored a team-high 23 points; Jacob McCord and Zach Shepard added 21 points each.