It may have taken a few games to get their rhythm, but the Pendleton girls hit their stride Saturday.

The Bucks turned away South Albany 51-29 to finish their home tourney on Saturday afternoon, following two nonleague losses that started the season.

“We were a little more composed today,” said Bucks head coach Kevin Porter. “Obviously, the goal is to get better with every game, and we did that.”

In a game where every player across the bench scored, junior Carissa Cooley and senior Elli Nirschl led the team with 9 points each. Cooley’s all came from 3-pointers, shooting 3-4 from behind the line. Nirschl shot 3-8 overall and 1-2 at the line.

When the RedHawks’ defense held sturdy in the paint, the Bucks turned to their outside shooting. 

Freshman Muriel Hoisington and Cooley each hit threes in the first quarter to edge past their opponents 11-10 at the buzzer.

“When (South Albany) got tough, we just took a deep breath and made those important shots,” Cooley said. “We were patient.”

RedHawks sophomore Nikilie Robinson sunk a bucket early in the second quarter for a short-lived Albany lead before Pendleton swiftly regained dominance. Seniors Katie Bradt and Uliyana Guerrero combined for five straight points at the line for a 16-12 Pendleton lead.

Pendleton allowed just one more RedHawks basket for the quarter, and Nirschl and sophomore Josie Wilson both landed long-range shots to keep the Bucks ahead 26-14 at the half.

Nirschl sunk another 3-pointer to open quarter three, where the Bucks outscored the RedHawks 10-8.

In the fourth, Albany found the net twice, while Pendleton kept their distance by at least 19 points for most of the quarter. They tacked on 11 more points, including 3-pointers from Cooley and senior Sami Spriet.

“I feel like we finally got the jitters out,” Cooley said. “We were nervous going into our first home game on Friday (Pendleton lost to Putnam 43-40). This was a good preseason game.”

Cooley says her team will go into their Tuesday home game against Southridge with their “heads held high.” Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m.

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