Ashland saved its best for last, outscoring North Valley 21-7 in the fourth quarter to overcome a 23-15 deficit and pull out a 36-33 nonconference victory Tuesday at Mountain Avenue Gym.
Michaela Dunn led the Grizzlies with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and drained two clutch 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help Ashland win for the third time in its last four games.
"Any time that you only play one quarter it's a little frustrating," Ashland head coach Ashley Hafner said, "but mostly I'm just really proud of this team's ability to just come back. They have a lot of fight in them and a lot of heart and it doesn't matter what the score is, the situation — they never give up."
Georgia Williams added 11 points and seven rebounds and Leilani Sukles five points for the Grizzlies (5-5), who travel to Medford today for a game against St. Mary's. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.
North Valley (4-6), which held Ashland to 10 points in the first half, was led by Aaliyah Hall (nine points) and Mikala Mohr (eight).
The Grizzlies struggled to score against North Valley's full-court pressure defense in the first half, but figured it out in the third quarter while also cranking up their own pressure defense. The tables began to turn near the end of the third and start of the fourth, just in time for Ashland to pass up the Class 4A Knights.
"We had a tough first half at both ends," Hafner said. "Our defense was not great and we could not buy a bucket. So when we came out at halftime we talked about playing our game. Maybe there were some nerves involved — it was the first time having to play a home game and actually having a crowd. It took them a little while in the third quarter to get to where we needed to be, but the last two minutes of the third quarter we really stepped up defensively."
Hafner said Ashland's previous experience in nip-and-tuck games proved to be the difference. The Grizzlies have now played in four games decided by eight points or less.
"It turned out to be a situational game," Hafner said. "We had to play really smart basketball. I was thankful that we've already had some close games because they executed what they needed to execute to win the game."
NORTH VALLEY (33) — McCaskill 0, Bell 4, Werner 0, Scott 6, Hall 9, Wagman 0, Mohr 8, Pittman 6. Totals: 13 7-16 33.
ASHLAND (36) — Williams 11, Altig 0, Tilley 2, Greenberg 1, Teixeira 1, Dunn 16, Sukles 5, Kasiah 0, Walker 0, Read 0. Totals: 12 10-18 36.
North Valley 10 6 7 10 — 33
Ashland 6 4 5 21 — 36
3-point goals — Ashland 2 (Dunn 2). Fouled out — Mohr.
JV result — North Valley won.
Collin Malcolm paced Ashland with 11 points, five rebounds and two blocks but it wasn't enough for the Grizzlies, who were held to 14 points in the first half of a 64-37 loss to North Valley on Tuesday at Mountain Avenue Gym.
Walker Shibley-Styer added eight points and Jeremiah Hasskamp four points and two assists for the Grizzlies (3-7).
North Valley (7-2), the defending Class 4A state champion, was led by Chris Morsa (19 points) and Cameron Lyon (16).
NORTH VALLEY (64) — Eskitgis 2, Martz 0, Nelson 1, Olmstead 5, Fairman 2, Thompson 6, Morsa 19, Davis 0, Flynn 13, Bailey 0, Lyon 16, Whitmore 0. Totals: 25 6-11 64.
ASHLAND (37) — Layton 0, Harfst 4, Fredrickson 2, Hasskamp 4, Feinberg 0, Byers 2, Shibley-Styer 9, Crenshaw 0, Atteberry 2, Stanley 3, Malcolm 11. Totals: 15 4-6 37.
North Valley 12 19 14 19 — 64
Ashland 8 6 14 6 — 37
3-point goals — North Valley 8 (Olmstead 1, Morsa 3, Lyon 4), Ashland 3 (Hasskamp 1, Shibley-Styer 1, Malcolm 1).
JV score — Ashland 41, North Valley 38.