Blue Mountain couldn’t stop Tara Chamberlain on Wednesday night.
In a home rematch against Treasure Valley, the 5-foot-9 sophomore forward poured in 24 points and shot 9-of-12 at the line to lead the Chukars to a 67-50 Northwest Athletic Conference victory.
“We just couldn’t get anything going offensively,” said Timberwolves coach Adam Driver.
On Wednesday night, fans ‘Blued-Out’ the stands, dressed in Timberwolves gear in the hopes that the team would come out on top this time around (Blue Mountain lost to the Chukars 71-51 earlier this month).
And Blue Mountain held onto the lead for the opening three minutes, but after one of the Timberwolves’ top scorers, sophomore guard Chloe Morrison, went down with an injured ankle, Chamberlain got to work. She drained five straight points at the line and hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds to claim the first quarter 18-14.
“When Chloe went down, it wrecked our depth,” Driver said. “And our foul trouble didn’t help, either.”
Timberwolves freshman forward Brooke Wheeler took care of four of her team’s six points in the second quarter, but Chamberlain hit another deep 3 for a 29-20 halftime advantage for Treasure Valley.
“The second quarter was really bad for us,” Wheeler said. “Treasure Valley is a driving team — they love shooting from the inside. But if you leave them open on the outside, they’ll take advantage of that, too.”
Wheeler posted 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Blue Mountain.
“Brooke is easily our most aggressive player,” Driver said. “She always battles. She’s the one player we can go to when we need a shot.”
When the Timberwolves trailed by 22 points with 1:45 left in the fourth quarter, Wheeler scored two more at the line and sparked a Blue Mountain run.
Sophomore guard Karlie Gerlinger scored three straight points, and freshman guard Alyia Munoz knocked down five of her own to pull within 13 points of Treasure Valley.
“We got tired of getting down on each other,” Wheeler said of her team’s scoring streak. “We got a burst of energy. We started closing out on shooters and bringing the pressure.”
The Timberwolves may have won the quarter 19-15, but foul trouble got the best of them once again as the Chukars scored four straight points at the line to put the game away.
“Our energy comes and goes,” Driver said. “It’s hard to win games at this level when you can’t sustain your energy and intensity.”
Blue Mountain (3-16, 1-8 NWAC) remains at the bottom of the East Region standings. They’ll travel to Columbia Basin on Saturday.
Blue Mountain may have fallen to Treasure Valley on Wednesday night, but not without giving the Chukars some trouble.
The Timberwolves stole the lead four times in the first half before the Chukars tore away in the second to win the NWAC contest 99-83.
“They came out and punched us in the mouth right up, but we came back and answered,” Blue Mountain coach Doug Baxter said of the opening 20 minutes. “Our energy was there.”
Blue Mountain lagged 15-4 early in the first half before making an 11-point run, allowing a 3-pointer from sophomore point guard Mehki Foreman to take over the lead for the first time.
From there, the Timberwolves ran out to a 31-25 advantage, but back-to-back 3’s from Chukars sophomore guards Jaden Vaughn and Carson Bischoff tied things up at 31-31 with 6:22 left on the clock.
Vaughn drained another trey to give his team a 46-42 lead at the half.
“We didn’t have an answer for No. 3 (Vaughn),” Baxter said. “He got a lot of big, open looks. We didn’t do a good job of locating him.”
The Chukars made an eight-point run at 14:43 in the second half to lead by 20 points. Timberwolves freshman wing Dylan Grogan hit a jump shot from the inside at the buzzer, but there was no catching up.
Grogan returned to the court after recovering from a concussion he suffered at Spokane last week.
“We’re just not very deep right now,” said Baxter. “Getting Grogan back into the lineup was good. But it just seemed like we could never get into a good rhythm.”
Freshman guard Dante Clayton led Blue Mountain with 24 points, and Foreman chipped in 21. Vaughn closed the night with a game-high 37 points for Treasure Valley.
Blue Mountain (4-17, 1-8 NWAC) ranks No. 8 of 9 in the East Region standings after Wednesday’s loss. They’ll challenge the No. 9 Columbia Basin Hawks on Saturday.