• James Townsend

Lady Raiders top Lowell in overtime thriller


On Tuesday night, the Portland High School girls basketball team hosted the Lowell Red Arrows.


Despite trailing 22-10 after one quarter and 29-22 at the half, the gritty Lady Raider squad was able to pull off a 59-54 win in overtime. The Raiders had three senior starters foul out in the fourth quarter and relied heavily on their bench to pull off the win.


Portland was led offensively by senior Ashley Bower with 24 points, and senior Ava Guilford who scored 12 points.


Lowell was led by Braxcynn Baker with 21 points, and Taryn Jackson with 16 points.


Scoring summary by quarter:

1st – 2nd – 3rd – 4th – OT – Final

Portland 10 – 12 – 14 – 12 – 11 – 59

Lowell 22 – 7 – 9 – 10 – 6 – 54


After the game, Portland head coach Jason Haid was extremely proud of his team’s performance. Haid said, “We talked about after the game that this group just understands that the game is never over. We were down 14 in that game and the only thing we kept talking about in the time out was let’s grind it out. Let’s get one stop at a time, one possession on offense at a time, let’s take higher quality shots because some of our shots were a little forced in the first half.”


Haid added, “But we had some kids step up defensively. Tonight, that really made a huge difference. Malia Thelen did an unbelievable job on the bigger girl from Lowell, who broke their school scoring record about a week ago. Malia took her out of the game for the most part. Ashley (Bower) did a great job on 32. We made an adjustment at halftime, we had to make a switch because 32 was kind of chewing us up a little bit. I am proud of the way we grinded to get back into that game with some big shots. Ava Guilford had a big three there at the end of the game to keep us close. Ashley attacked the rim so well all night and was able to get some buckets.”


Haid also singled out the performance of senior exchange student Doltza Oiartzabal. Haid said, “I cannot say enough about Doltza. She comes in when we have a girl foul out on a double technical and she comes in and has to hit free throws to get us the lead there in the fourth. She had not played a whole lot in the game and she steps in and knocks them both down. Not only that but she played the entire overtime period and rebounded so well, and took care of the ball. We could not have done it without her. We could not have done it without our bench tonight. It was just a great team win. We faced some adversity and had kids foul out, so I am proud of the way we faced that and came back to get the win.”


Oiartzabal had three points in the game going three out of four from the free throw line.


With the win Portland improves to 12-1 overall. Their next game is Friday night at 6:00 when they host CAAC White rival Ionia as part of PHS’s Winterfest. Ionia is currently 8-5 overall, and 2-3 in the CAAC White.


Both the Ionia and Portland programs will be supporting the Oxford High School community as part of “Oxford Strong Day.”


Image by AJ Guilford.

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