The Umatilla Vikings girls basketball team lost to the Yakama Tribal School Eagles, 63-56, in Toppenish, Wash., Tuesday.

Three Viking players scored in the double digits, but it wasn’t enough to stop an Eagle squad that has now beaten Umatilla twice this season. Freshman Aleesha Watson led Umatilla with 13 points, senior Desiree Garza and 11 and junior Kasandra Galbraith, 10.

The loss dropped the Vikings’ overall record to 8-6 on the year. Umatilla takes on league rival Riverside (3-11) at 6 p.m. Friday in Umatilla.

Vale 35, Umatilla 30 -

The Vikings fell to top-ranked Vale, 35-30, in their league-opener Saturday in Umatilla. Desiree Garza lead the team with 16 points, and freshman Aleesha Watson added eight points. It was the second time the two teams have faced off this season, with Vale winning a non-league tournament game, 44-22, against the Vikings earlier this season.

Coach Scott Bow said he was proud of how his team battled against undefeated Vale.

“We played hard, and we played well,” Bow said. “Obviously, I would have liked to get the win, but we did a lot of good things against one of the best teams in the state.”

It was a back-and-forth game with the two teams trading leads throughout.

“In a game like this it pretty much comes down to the final few minutes,” Bow said. “Vale was able to get ahead by a possession or two, and then they made their free throws down the stretch. They didn’t give us that opportunity to come back one last time.”

Bow said Vale did a great job of finishing the game.

“Every year it seems like they make all of their free throws in the deciding moments of a game,” he said. “They have a lot of experience in these types of situations, and that certainly paid off for them against us.”

Bow said his team is much better equipped to handle an opponent of Vale’s caliber now as opposed to earlier in the season.

“We’ve added so many things on both sides of the ball since we last played Vale,” he said. “We’ve grown a lot. We’re still a pretty young team, and our players are learning a lot from game to game.”

Bow said he is confident his team could give any team in the state a good battle.

“I felt that before the game against Vale,” he said. “The way we performed gives me evidence to back up my beliefs. If we can play the rest of the schedule with the same effort we just showed against Vale, we’ll have good reason to hold our heads high regardless of our record.”

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