Pelicans roll by Mazama
Mazama’s Tia Chastain is surrounded by Klamath Union defenders Bess Fagan and Hanna deGroot in Saturday’s game. KU won the contest, 54-28.

It's nice to bounce back.

After dropping a 47-point loss to a solid Bend team Friday, an undermanned Klamath Union girls team came back against a Mazama team that's closer to its level and won the first girls Canal Bowl battle convincingly, 54-28, at Pelican Court Saturday.

"Of course, we were playing a harder team (Friday), but once we played them, we had to come back tonight and then bounce back," KU junior guard Brandy Bocchi said.

Despite a slow start that saw only 13 points by both sides in the first period, the Pelicans scored 13 points to end the first half and take the lead for good.

The Pelicans, who suited up five sophomores and three freshmen out of 13 players, then shut out the Vikings in the third period, and outscored the Vikings, 18-0.

That turned a seven-point halftime lead into a 45-20 advantage going into the final meaningless period.

"In the first quarter, we came out a little bit flat, and so in the third quarter we really had to step it up," Bocchi, who scored 11 points for the Pels, said.

"We finally played with a little more poise," KU coach Brandon Jensen said. "We had been averaging about 35 turnovers a game, and tonight we had only 11.

"I think tonight we made some smarter decisions, and we've finally started figuring out the press. We've only put it in just recently."

In fact, because of the Pelicans' full-court pressure, the Vikings never could get comfortable on offense. Mazama committed 33 turnovers, and a lot of them happened before even getting the ball past mid-court or after just getting past it.

"Both teams are really young and inexperienced," Jensen said. "We had something that they just didn't have."

The Pelicans went four minutes in the first period without scoring, but the Vikings went scoreless for more than five, as the Pels were ahead, 7-6, at the break.

The teams exchanged leads seven times in the first three and a half minutes of the second period, and the Vikings actually had an 18-14 advantage on Lindsey English's three-pointer.

Klamath Union tied the game up when freshman Jenni Ritter stole the ball at midcourt and scored on a breakaway layup, at 20-20, as part of the Pels' half-ending 9-0 run.

In that last two minute, 39-second stretch, the Vikings turned the ball over five times and attempted only one shot.

And the Vikings would not be saved by the halftime buzzer. They were 0-of-6 from the field and turned the ball over 10 times in the third period.

Meanwhile, the Pels didn't score themselves until the two and a half minutes into the second half, but their offense started to open things up and they got layups. Five of the six field goals the Pels scored in the period came from their half-court offense, on layups.

The greatest factor in that, though, was the Pelicans' superior quickness. They could tell they had an advantage from the numerous fouls the Vikings committed against them, mostly on moves within the offense.

"They double-teamed me a lot, and when I drove they just seemed to foul me every single time," Bocchi said. "Every single time I'd take a dribble, they were right on top of me, and I'd make back-cuts and they'd foul me every time."

In the end, the Vikings committed 33 finals and four of them fouled out. Starters Megan Britton and Brea Miller were disqualified within three seconds of each other midway through the third period, and Krystal Lawrence and April Cowan fouled out in the fourth.

Ritter led the Pels with 13 points, while guard Allyson Foster added seven points.

Lawrence scored 13 points for Mazama, while center Brenna Tofell added eight points off the bench.

CANAL CHRONICLES — Klamath Union improved to 2-2 on the season and begins Southern Oregon Conference play at Roseburg next Friday … Mazama (1-1) travels to Yreka Tuesday … Klamath Union attempted 43 free throws and made 22 of them (51.2 percent) … Mazama hit nine of its 18 foul shots.