The Taft High girls basketball team pushed Rainier to the brink Tuesday in pursuit of its first victory since early December, but fell short, 37-32, at home in Coastal Range League action.
The Tigers’ 12th straight defeat left them 2-14 overall and 0-6 in conference, while the Colombians improved to 8-6, 3-4.
Details from the girls game were not reported.
PHOTOS BY LON FRENCH
The Taft boys (6-10, 1-5) committed 14 first-quarter turnovers to fall behind Rainier 22-2 before losing 59-41 despite 20 points, 18 rebounds and nine blocks from 6-foot, 9-inch senior center Ray Darrington.
Senior Tyee Fisher also managed a double-double for the Tigers with 11 points and 10 rebounds against the first-place Colombians (8-6, 5-1).
The Taft girls return to the court at 6 p.m. Friday at Clatskanie (10-3, 5-0), while the boys play Clatskanie (8-4, 4-0) at 7:30 p.m.
Rainier 59, Taft 41
Taft 2 10 10 19 — 41
Rainier 22 11 15 11 — 59
Taft Boys Coach Andy Morgan’s comments
“The first three minutes of the game were scoreless as Taft pressured Rainier and both teams missed early opportunities to score. Then, the steamroller started. Rainier held the Tigers to a single bucket while dominating Taft in the lane. Three easy buckets were scored when Rainier penetrated from the wings, effectively distributing the ball to the weak-side block as the Tiger post challenged the able ball-handlers. Defensively, Taft was slow to respond from the help side and failed to challenge on-ball with aggressive footwork.
“Championship mentality was present as the 3A State football champions dominated the Tigers, causing 14 first-quarter turnovers. After a timeout 4½ minutes into the frame, the Tigers returned to play lacking the conviction and fearlessness we have been preaching all season.
“The second quarter was basically even, although Taft failed to score on multiple opportunities, leaving the gap at 21 going into halftime. Senior Ray Darrington scored eight points in the quarter while missing four from the charity stripe. Taft would finish the game 9 for 17 in this vital statistic. Senior Tyee Fisher scored the only other points of the half, a two-point bucket. Conner Rea led Rainier with nine in the half, following up his 31-point performance in the first meeting. Rea finished with 20 points.
“The third quarter didn’t change much for the struggling Tigers — missing most of their buckets and struggling to dominate the rebounding battle. Offensively, the Tigers calmed down, though, settling for first shots rather than best shots. Taft was outscored by the visitors 15-10 in the third quarter, led by Devin Godfrey with nine points for the Colombians.
“Taft played its best quarter in the fourth period, primarily against Rainier’s second string. Five players made the scorebook, including Fco Ramos with his first points of the game, and Graden Kehr, who stole the ball with four seconds remaining and converted a layup to avoid a 20-point loss to the visiting Columbians.
“It was a particularly disappointing loss to the team that currently leads the standings in the 3A Coastal Range League with a record of 5-1. Taft has the potential to compete with every team in this league, lacking only the conviction and fearlessness to play Tiger basketball. We play selfish — and scared — none of which make for a very entertaining brand of basketball. Taft managed to turn the ball over 21 times while tallying a paltry five assists. We will get back into the gym Wednesday and go to work. We will make adjustments to our attitude and technique.”