Vale's Sierra Cleaver goes for a lay in Friday night against Riverside in an Eastern Oregon League contest. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).
VALE – Vale’s Gracee Jacobs didn’t hesitate when asked what was the key for the Lady Vikings 40-28 league triumph over Riverside Friday night.
“Maddie Siddoway,” said Jacobs.
Jacob’s reply was astute and came from a player who usually spearheads Vale on the hardwood. Against Riverside, though, a game that started slow eventually evolved into the Matyson Siddoway show.
The 5-foot-5 sophomore guard finished the night with a team-high 14 points and Vale used a huge second quarter of offense and defense to take control of the contest.
“She was clutch tonight,” said Jacobs of Siddoway.
Siddoway said she just wanted to do what she could to help her team win. Still, she said, she usually has her “best game” against Riverside.
“I came out with the attitude that whatever I do should contribute to the team,” said Siddoway. “I found it was easier to score when I didn’t focus on scoring.”
On Jan. 18, the Lady Vikings rolled over Riverside 48-15. A different team stepped onto the court Friday night and for the first quarter the Pirates gave the Vikings all they could handle. The intensity of the Riverside attack in the first quarter was a surprise, said Siddoway.
“They put up a really good fight,” said Siddoway.
Jacobs agreed the Lady Vikings were caught off guard in the first stanza.
“We were not expecting them to come out with that much aggression,” said Jacobs. “When you play a team that is really aggressive it is hard to come back and play the crisp kind of game you know.”
Vale remedied the situation in the second quarter. The Lady Vikings outscored Riverside 21-8 in the second stanza for a 27-12 advantage at halftime.
“I thought we played a really good second quarter,” said Jason Johnson, Vale coach. “And Siddoway had a great game. She got into an offensive flow.”
Jacobs said the Vikings responded because they were able to feed off Riverside’s aggressive play.
“The more physical the other team is the more physical we are,” said Jacobs.
Emersyn Johnson scored eight points for the Vikings and Jacobs added seven, including two back-to-back jump shots during the crucial scoring binge in the second quarter.
Faith Rosen led the Pirates with seven points.
Saturday night, the Vikings pounded Umatilla 48-26. The back-to-back wins puts Vale (6-3) in second place – behind Burns – in Eastern Oregon League standings. Burns (8-0) is ranked No. 1 in that state. Vale is ranked 12th by the Oregon Schools Activities Association.
The Lady Vikings lost a close game – 50-46 – to Burns in January but Siddoway said the loss helped her team.
“It boosted our confidence being able to compete with a high-level team,” said Siddoway.
Tuesday night, the Lady Vikings defeated Ontario 49-32 in a non-league game. Vale will play Irrigon Friday in Irrigon to close out regular season play. The first game of the Eastern Oregon League district tournament is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 12. Which teams will play in that game are still to be determined.
Reporter Pat Caldwell: email@example.com or 541-473-3377.