The Umatilla Vikings girls basketball team overcame a poor start to beat the River View Panthers of Finley, Wash., 30-29, Tuesday in Umatilla.
With the win Umatilla improved to 10-7 on the season.
The Vikings were down 27-22 with just less than two minutes to go in the game. Junior wing Kasandra Galbraith hit two free throws with 1:34 remaining to cut the Panther lead to 27-26.
A minute of frantic play on both sides came to a climax when Viking sophomore Gabriela Contreras hit a two-point field goal along the baseline with 32 seconds left to give the Vikings their first lead of the game.
Freshman Aleesha Watson added another 2-pointer with about seven seconds remaining, which proved to be critical as River View went for, and scored, a 2-point basket in the games final second even though it was down three points.
Head coach Scott Bow said it felt great to get the win.
For a while I didnt know if anything was going to fall for us, he said. We had a ton of missed lay-ups tonight, and we couldnt really get anything going from the outside, either.
Bow said all he wanted was an opportunity for his team to win the game at the end.
We battled throughout the game, and I kept telling our girls to keep pushing, he said. Fortunately for us, we made the few that mattered most at the end.
Bow said he was proud of how his team stepped up in the games final minutes.
They got after it at the end, he said. We had a couple steals, and we forced River View into some bad decisions when they had the basketball. That proved to be the difference as we turned a couple of those turnovers into baskets on our end.
Desiree Garza led the team with nine points, while Sidney Webb added six for the Vikings. Galbraith chipped in with five points, as well.
The Vikings take on Burns Saturday at Umatilla High School in a crucial Eastern Oregon League contest. Bow said his team needs the win to keep pace with the top teams in the league.
Every league game from here on out is extremely important, he said. We need to win all of our remaining home league games and steal one on the road somewhere.