By David Bashore
Herald sports editor
Boardman Umatilla got the offense going early and often Friday night as they routed Riverside 45-15 in Eastern Oregon League girls' basketball action.
The Lady Vikings (12-7, 4-3 EOL) raced out to a scoring margin of 18-4 in the first quarter, killing off the game almost before it had even started in earnest.
Umatilla improved on that number in the second quarter, taking a 35-6 lead into the intermission on the strength of tenacious defense and a newfound confidence in shooting ability.
Quick hands on the defense by Aleah Phillips and Daniela Campos helped set up the offense, which was centered around the contributions of Campos, junior Ashley Borden and senior Brianne Bieren.
Borden finished with 12 points on the night, all in the first half, Campos wound up with 10 points, and Bieren finished with eight points.
Senior guard Sarah Wilson led Riverside with six points on the night, something that pleased head coach Jim Doherty in what amounted to Wilson's second-to-last game on her home floor.
"It's nice, because she's a senior," Doherty said. "We've only got two more home games including this one, so to see her play well is nice."
Riverside held Umatilla without a single point in the fourth quarter, though both coaches saw that fact in a different mindset.
"They went to their bench, which gives us a look at what we're looking at down the road," Doherty said. "We tried to get a look at what we have coming back next year against what they had, and they did pretty well. It's just individual effort, these girls won't mail it in even when they're getting beaten."
Umatilla head coach Cindy Roxbury was not overly bothered with the fact that her team was kept off the scoreboard in the final period, as it was all about giving some little-used players key varsity experience which will prove invaluable for the rest of this season and beyond.
"We wanted to come out and play strong in the first half, and we did exactly what we wanted," Roxbury said. "We stayed composed, put the press on and racked (the points) up in the first half like we wanted. I wanted to save some legs in the second half, so that's what happened there. I'm not worried about (reserves) not scoring, and our defense held them to 15 points (overall)."
Roxbury said that the win showed that most of her team's struggles this season have been of the mental variety rather than the physical.
"For a while the team played with no heart, but tonight they had heart," Roxbury said. "They fought and fought, and that's all we can ask of them. When we come out and score, it seems like everyone scores. When we miss a few shots, everyone seems down. It's all about mental focus with these girls."
Umatilla's relief at winning over Riverside was short-lived, as they fell at home to Vale on Saturday night by the score of 39-24.
A rough first quarter gave Vale all the cushion they would need to keep Umatilla behind them in the standings.
Riverside traveled to John Day to play Grant Union, in a game won 83-38 by the Lady Prospectors.
David Bashore can be reached at email@example.com.