YAKIMA, Wash. — Lyndsay Oswalt’s performance Tuesday night made it clear why the Granger girls are a team to be reckoned with.
But the Spartans also proved they are not one-dimensional.
Oswalt put on an impressive display in Granger’s SCAC West showdown with La Salle, with the 5-foot-11 senior finishing with 27 points and 20 rebounds, but key contributions from the youngest Spartans helped spark a come-from-behind 54-50 victory over the Lightning at West Valley High.
“Ozzie had a big game but I thought the difference was two of our freshmen,” Granger coach Andy Affholter said, referring to guard Sierra Heitzman and forward Lindsey Carpenter.
Heitzman nailed a big 3-pointer late in the third quarter to help Granger (5-0, 8-3) dig out of a nine-point deficit, and Carpenter hit the go-ahead basket with less than 2 minutes remaining.
Another underclassman, sophomore Angelica Oliveros, also came up big with 13 points — including Granger’s first nine in the fourth quarter — and five rebounds.
“This is the first time these kids have played in that type of situation ... and they played big tonight,” Affholter said of the underclassmen. “They exceeded my expectations.”
Oswalt did as well, even though she’s been a consistent force all season. The senior was a steady presence throughout the game, but really came up big in the second half with 15 points, capped by her scoring six of Granger’s final eight points.
“Oswalt’s a great player,” La Salle coach Alyssa Goins said. “She put the team on her back.”
What ultimately turned things around for Granger was its ability to take care of the basketball against La Salle’s pressure defense. Most of the Spartans’ 28 turnovers came in the first 2 1/2 quarters and, not surprisingly, they found themselves down 34-25 midway through the third and 38-30 with just over 2 minutes left in the quarter.
“We knew we were going way too fast. We rushed things,” Oswalt said of Granger’s pace of play. “We had to slow down and look for the right shot. Not make stupid shots.”
“We definitely didn’t turn them over at the end like we did earlier in the game,” Goins said, adding that her team’s cold shooting late in the game prevented La Salle (4-1, 9-2) from getting its pressure defense set up effectively.
That allowed Granger to slowly chip away, eventually forging a 42-all tie on an Oliveros 3-pointer. La Salle retook the lead three more times only to have Granger match those baskets each time, the last at 48-all on an Oswalt layup.
Following a Lightning miss, Granger raced down court and with La Salle defenders focused on Oswalt, Carpenter kept the ball and drove for the go-ahead layup. After another Lightning miss, Oswalt pushed the lead to four with a basket at the 1:25 mark.
Oswalt missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity with 29 seconds to play and La Salle cut the deficit to 52-50 on a Karly Sattler jumper, but Oswalt redeemed herself by making two free throws with 14.8 seconds remaining and Granger’s defense made it hold up.
“We knew they were 9-1 coming in but we couldn’t let that scare us,” Oswalt said. “We knew we had to just try to get it done.”
GRANGER — Heitzman 3, Villa 0, Arceo 0, Angelica Oliveros 13, John 4, Lyndsay Oswalt 27, Carpenter 7, Blodgett 0, Vasquez 0.
LA SALLE — Sutton 9, Martin 7, Kate McGree 15, Garcia 6, Sattler 3, Miller 0, Avalos 9, Zeutenhorst 1, Desmarais 0.
Granger 11 8 18 17 — 54
La Salle 10 13 17 10 — 50
FG—Granger 21-50, La Salle 21-64. FT—Granger 10-16, La Salle 4-6. 3-Point FG—Granger 2-10 (Heitzman 1-2, Oliveros 1-5, Oswalt 0-1, Carpenter 0-2), La Salle 4-9 (Avalos 1-1, Sutton 1-1, Martin 1-3, Sattler 1-3, Miller 0-1). Rebounds—Granger 40 (Oswalt 20, John 8), La Salle 32 (McGree 12). Turnovers—Granger 28, La Salle 21. Fouls—Granger 9, La Salle 16.