Hermiston girls use free throws to bury Springfield

<p>Hermiston's Abi Drotzmann, 12, drives the lane against the Springfield Millers on Saturday in Hermiston. The Bulldogs won the game, 46-37.</p>

The Hermiston girls basketball team kept its momentum rolling Saturday as it took down the Springfield Millers, 46-37, in a non-league battle at Hermiston High School.

It was a defensive battle early on as the Bulldogs led the game 6-4 after the first period.

Hermiston head coach Steve Hoffert knew his team was going to be tested physically by the Millers.

“It was a knock-out, drag-out fight,” he said. “We’ll take that type of win any day of the week. It will toughen us up in the long run.”

Sophomore guard Sara Ramirez and senior post Shelby Sanders led the Bulldogs.

Ramirez scored 15 points, sinking only two field goals, but she went 10-for-10 from the free throw line.

Sanders added 14 points of her own and went 6-for-7 from the free throw line.

Hoffert said those two players spend a great deal of time and energy perfecting their free throw shooting.

“They are two of the hardest workers on this team,” he said. “For them to come out here and shoot the ball the way they did is a great feeling for me as a coach. They both carried us at times throughout this game.”

The two teams picked up the scoring in the second quarter, and the Bulldogs took a two point, 20-18, advantage going into the locker room at halftime.

“We weren’t very sharp in that first half,” Hoffert said. “We made a lot of mistakes. We’re young at some positions out there, and I know we are going to have those mistakes at times. We live with those mistakes because of the positives our younger players give us.”

Defensive pressure has been the key to the Bulldogs’ success all season, and Saturday was no different.

“It’s really the core of what we do best,” Hoffert said. “Our defense is our biggest asset, and it’s what fuels us out there. It’s what gets us excited.”

Hoffert said he was pleased once again with Hermiston’s defensive effort.

“Our help-defense was great in this game,” he said. “We’ve been working on that in practice, and it’s nice to see our efforts translate into a game. We need to get better in some areas on defense, but we’re happy with the progress we are making.”

The Bulldogs take on the Southridge Suns today, whom they beat earlier in the year, 46-39. The Suns, of the Mid-Columbia Conference, currently sport a record of 4-4. Hoffert said his guards’ dribble penetration will be the key to that game.

“I don’t think anyone can match the speed we have at the guard position,” he said. “We can break teams down defensively with the dribble-drive and kick to our posts. It’s how we open things up for our shooters. We ran our offense well against Springfield in the second half, and I’m hoping that will continue against Southridge.”

The Bulldogs host the Suns at 7 p.m. today at Hermiston High School.

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