The Taft High girls basketball team moved to the brink of its first league victory of the season Friday before falling 40-33 at Rainier for its 18th straight defeat.
Fourth-place Rainier improved to 8-9 overall and 3-7 in Class 3A Coastal Range League girls play with the victory, while the Tigers fell to 2-18, 0-10.
Details from the girls game were not reported.
File photos by Lon French
The Taft boys fell to the Columbians 51-39 in the early game despite 17 points and 11 rebounds from senior center Ray Darrington and 14 points from junior shooting guard Jordan Hall.
The first-place Rainier boys moved to 12-7, 9-1, while Taft dropped to 7-13, 2-8.
Taft boys coach Andy Morgan’s comments:
“It was Senior Night at Rainier Jr/Sr High School, and the Taft Tigers were willing to let the celebrated Rainier 12th-graders score 11 points before they added any points to their own column. It proved to be too many, as the visiting Tigers fell to the home team for the third time, 51-39.
“Scoring has been a problem for the Tigers, putting up only six in each of the first two frames, for a halftime score of 12, while allowing 24. Senior Ray Darrington scored and was fouled, making the free throw for a three-point play — added to a deep 3 from junior Jordan Hall, in the first. Junior Lucas Hindman, in his second game back following an absence due to a broken hand, scored an “and 1,” while Hall added another deep shot to finish the scoring in the half.
“An inspired 20 points in the third proved the Tigers weren’t ready to quit. After allowing 15, the third quarter deficit was seven. The Tigers were poised in the quarter, led by deep shots by Hall and senior William Brooks, aided by a bucket from freshman Kaden Hindman and 10 points from inside by Darrington. Unfortunately, Rainier was able to grab a couple of crucial rebounds, and scored in the paint by blown coverage by the Tigers.
“While the Tigers were able to reduce their turnovers to 16 — a number still too high — the visitors were unable to make buckets in the fourth period. Finding themselves in a position needing to stop the clock, the Taft boys only showed one team foul with only minutes remaining in the game. The strong physical play of the Rainier squad caused trouble for the Tigers, often backing away from the bigger bodies of the home team.
“Rainier was able to capitalize on six of eight shots from the charity stripe as Taft attempted a stop-clock comeback. Unfortunately, the shots stopped falling for the Tigers, and they were unable to overcome the 11- point handicap from game’s beginning.
“Darrington scored a game high 17, followed closely by 14 from Hall. Nobody else on the Tiger squad scored more than three, with a blank in the scoring column for Taft’s often-potent Tyee Fisher. Four rebounds, six assists and a steal helped fill up the hustle column for the senior Fisher. Darrington also led all rebounders with 11 and added to two blocked shots.
“On the bright side of the game notes, the Taft team was able to hold Rainier scoring star Conner Rea to eight points after allowing him to post a total 51 in the first two meetings. Unfortunately, Rainier found help from others as Taft struggled to help each other on defense.”
The Taft boys will play Clatskanie at 6 p.m. and the girls will play at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on Senior Night in the home finale for Tigers. Taft concludes it season Monday, Feb. 11, at Willamina.