The Puyallup Vikings were frustrated at halftime of their matchup last Thursday night against the Rogers Rams.
Three players were in foul trouble, and they held an 18-15 lead on their home floor.
But Puyallup outscored Rogers 19-0 in the third quarter and pulled away to win 54-29.
Vikings post player Marissa Miller, who led her team with 13 points, said head coach Cherokee Ainslie gave the team a pep talk during the intermission.
“Coach said we just needed to focus up and that we can’t control the refs,” Miller said. “We just had to keep pushing and play our game, which is good defense.”
The pep talk worked.
The Vikings (13-1 overall) got contributions from a variety of players. Guard Braylie Jeffers scored 10 points, and Haley McCann and Kasey Balmer chipped in eight.
Balmer hit two 3-pointers and ended the third quarter with a 3 from the corner as time expired.
“That is what makes our team so special,” Ainslie said. “When one person is having an off night, or someone is being shut out, someone else steps up for their teammate.”
Ainslie said she was pleased with the way her team rebounded after a sluggish first half.
“Sometimes our team lets what happens with the officiating calls affect them,” she said. “We talked about it in the locker room at halftime. I just told the team that we have to come out of the half and play our ball. That is what we came out and did.”
Miller said the Vikings enjoy the rivalry aspect of their contests against Rogers (7-7).
“It is a lot more intense than most games,” she said. “Everything is loud. You can’t hear anything. All you can do is just focus and play your game.”
Puyallup’s only loss this season came against Beamer on Jan. 3.
Ainslie said she expects her team to fine-tune its skills.
“We want to keep playing and improving each night,” she said. “We want to take what we do wrong, and make sure we can make those corrections and keep pushing forward.”
Sports Editor Shaun Scott can be reached at 253-552-7002 or by email at email@example.com.