Evans, Pullam help Hamilton survive Dobson rally - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Evans, Pullam help Hamilton survive Dobson rally

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Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 10:00 pm | Updated: 4:00 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Lauren Evans kept shooting and Chelsea Pullam did the rest.

A scoring showcase broke out in the first round of the 5A Division I girls basketball state tournament. On Tuesday night, it was Evans and Pullam for Hamilton, and Delia Vasquez for Dobson.

The pair prevailed, as the No. 6-seeded Huskies held on twice to slip by the feisty Mustangs, 71-67.

The Huskies will play at No. 3 Mountain View on Friday night in the quarterfinals.

From the opening tip, Evans couldn't be stopped. She missed more free throws than field goals, and used both her mid-range game and slashing ability to squelch Dobson's final rally in the fourth quarter.

Evans finished with 33 points, including all 11 of the Huskies' points in the second quarter and three free throws in the final minutes to help keep Hamilton ahead by two possessions.

"She was a star," Hamilton coach Jeff Kain said.

On this night, she had a co-star. Pullam, known for her music as much as her basketball accumen, had 16 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, and forced a key turnover in the final two minutes as the Mustangs cut Hamilton's 14-point lead by more than half early in the fourth quarter.

Hamilton led 58-43 after three quarters, but Vasquez scored 15 of her 27 points in the second half by getting short jumpers and free throws. That, combined with three-pointers from Miyah Leith and Tori Lloyd, made it a five-point deficit twice in the final two minutes.

The first time, Evans hit a floater in the lane to make it 67-60. The second time, Pullam forced a turnover on a drive by Dobson guard Katherine Hamilton (12 points).

The defending-champion Mustangs lost nearly all of their experience and interior presence from last year's team, but they settled down after 1 1/2 quarters of turnovers trying to deal with Hamilton's full-court trapping defense. Erin Curry had six of her eight points in the opening frame for Hamilton in a 22-14 lead.

"We're not good at making in-game adjustments," Dobson coach Tyler Dumas said. "That's not a lack-of-effort thing. It's an experience thing."

But through the scrappy play and full effort, a lack of seasoning off the bench and being unable to fully simulate Hamilton's trapping defense in practice led to turnovers and missed chances late that crippled the Mustangs comeback.

"I like our progress, and we knew it was going to be a process with only two seniors (this year)," Dumas said. "...This team played as hard as any Dobson team I've had."

Trailing by double digits early, the Mustangs made it to within 33-29 at halftime. Again, Hamilton pulled away as Cassidee Ranger hit a pair of treys to compliments Evans and Pullam (eight points each in the third quarter).

Hamilton got key minutes from previously-inexperienced Breanna Fetters and Shelby Hartman while some Huskies' regulars were in foul trouble.

Pullam and Evans took it the rest of the way.

"They were huge," Kain said. "You don't really notice all the things (Pullam) does until you look at a stat sheet, but she does it almost every night."

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