CONIFER — Variety is the spice of life. It goes pretty good with basketball, too.
Faced with a dogged, revenge-bent rival Feb. 10, the Conifer Lobos concentrated on teamwork and getting everyone involved in a 52-50 victory over Evergreen.
“I think a big part of it was we had a great crowd behind us,” Conifer guard Cara Walderman said. “We played as a team the entire time. We knew that we needed to pick up our defense ... that’s what we talked about at halftime.”
The Lobos had their eight-point lead trimmed to 43-42 with 4:21 remaining, at which point they got tough defensively and got some clutch points from Walderman and Alison Gorrell.
The Cougars still had some struggles shooting the ball, but they overcame that with some hard play and tough rebounding.
Walderman scored five of her 17 points in the fourth, and Gorrell picked up seven of her game-high 22 points in the final frame.
The victory gives the Lobos (20-1) a season sweep of the Cougars.
Beaudin led the Cougars with 19 points, while Jordan Florschuetz, Kelsey Bestall and Haley Stading scored seven points apiece.
Conifer threatened to pu the visitors away early, but the Cougars battled back with some timely shots and strong defense. Grace Beaudin led the Cougars with 19 points, including a 3-pointer to cut the lead to a single point.
“I think a lot of the way we’ve been playing, we haven’t been playing to win,” Conifer senior Sam Mohrman said. “We’ve been playing not to lose. I think tonight that’s how we were playing. I think at the end we realized we need to play for us, to win.”
Mohrman had eight points for the Lobos.
Evergreen made a few runs after the back-and-forth first half, although the Cougars never led past the first quarter.
Beaudin’s scoop layup made it 28-27 with just under three minutes left in the third, then the Lobos answered and were up 33-27 on a 3-pointer by Gorrell.
Bailey Miller (five rebounds) was strong for the Lobos, and Walderman blocked three shots.