MILTON-FREEWATER - Forward Sierra Burchell teamed up with guard Andrea Roeder as a potent inside-outside duo to escape with a Greater Oregon League victory over La Grande, 46-43, here Tuesday night.
Burchell, who fought foul trouble most of the night, scored 20 points and ripped down 14 rebounds.
"Sierra has been playing real well for us," Mac-Hi coach Curtis Pumphrey said. "She has been averaging, the last four games, about 22 points a night to go with about 10 rebounds.
"She was really big for us tonight, playing carefully with all those fouls," he said. "We needed her in the game because our offense runs through her."
Roeder, the point guard, scored 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the free-throw line, and collected three rebounds to go with two steals.
"Andrea was great for us this evening," Pumphrey said. "She stepped up big and was more aggressive running the offense. She drove to the hoop, got her lay-ins and got to the free-throw line. That is how she scores and this was how we need her to play for us."
Adding to the Pioneer team effort was post Kasey Erm, with four points and five rebounds. Guard Belen Betancourt also tallied up six points and scooped up three rebounds to go with two steals.
The Pioneers applied full-court pressure for much of the night, which caused 22 La Grande turnovers and accumulated six Pioneer steals.
"We have been working on our press in league," Pumphrey said. "We have been watching a lot of tape and practicing hard. La Grande doesn't seem to react well to the press, so we used it for most of the night."
Not showing up so much in the box score, but adding the depth needed to press, was the ability to rebound and play defense - were the young posts off the bench for Mac-Hi.
"We have five or six girls with some height who rebound and play defense as our underclassmen," Pumphrey said. "They have really helped to give us more depth off the bench. That is something that we have lacked for much of the year."
Burchell scored Mac-Hi's first six points of the game. The lead was 8-2 before the Tigers awoke.
After the first quarter, it was tied at 10.
Burchell scored 10 of the team's first 23 points and had five of the Pioneers' 13 rebounds in the first half.
Roeder hit four free throws in the first half to add four points to the total.
Erm added two buckets inside in the first half to round out the Pioneer scoring.
Burchell picked up her fourth foul one minute into the third period.
Burchell sat out for about five minutes before returning.
The Tigers made their run with Burchell on the bench, and built a lead of four points early in the third.
Burchell returned in time to help bring the Pioneers back.
Roeder scored eight points in the second half.
Mac-Hi trailed by three points when Burchell converted a three-point play inside, the old-fashioned way, with a shot and free throw to tie the game again with 2:09 remaining in the third period.
Down the stretch, the Pioneers relied on Burchell and Roeder for scoring, with the occassional bucket by another teammate.
"Tonight was one of our better performances of the year," Pumphrey said. "We just need to hold onto the ball a little better in future games."
Mac-Hi plays its final regular season game of the year at home against Baker at 6 p.m. on Friday night.
They then travel to either Baker or La Grande to play a district playoff game Tuesday night.
The winner of that game goes to state and the loser goes home.
LA GRANDE (43) - Aldred 1 0-0 3, Tracy 0 1-2 1, Tsiatsos 2 0-0 5, Partney 2 1-2 5, Alexander 1 1-3 3, Brown 4 3-6 11, Mattson 2 0-0 4, Moore 1 3-6 5, Mills 1 1-2 3, Sain 1 0-0 2, Powers 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 10-21 43.
MAC-HI (46) - Roeder 3 6-9 12, Erm 2 0-1 4, Burchell 7 6-9 20, Humbert 0 0-1 0, Betancourt 2 2-4 6, Wells 1 0-0 2, Munk 0 0-0 0, Holman 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 14-23 46.
La Grande 10 12 9 12 - 43
Mac-Hi 10 13 11 12 - 46
3-point goals - La Grande 2 (Aldred, Tsiatsos). Total fouls - La Grande 22, Mac-Hi 17. Fouled out - La Grande (Mattson). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Mac-Hi 26 (Burchell 14), La Grande 18 (Mills 5). Turnovers - La Grande 22, Mac-Hi 17.