Corvallis High needed a spark after a sluggish first half.
Alexandria Vallancey-Martinson provided one.
On senior night, Vallancey-Martinson poured in 11 of her game-high 20 points in the third quarter as the Spartans pulled away for a 46-31 win Tuesday night over visiting Central in a Mid-Willamette Conference girls basketball game.
Corvallis (18-5, 11-2 league) opened the third quarter on a 15-2 run to turn an 18-17 halftime lead into a blowout. Vallancey-Martinson scored 11 of those points, including a conventional three-point play that made it 33-19.
“I think we communicated a lot better in the third quarter,” said Vallancey-Martinson, a 5-foot-11 junior post. “We were more aggressive on offense and we just did a better job of blocking their drives.”
In last month’s 52-40 win at Central (12-10, 7-6), Vallancey-Martinson led all scorers with 19 points.
“They had some trouble guarding our posts last time we played them,” CHS coach Greg Garrison said. “We went into the game thinking it could be an advantage for us, and Alexandria can kind of do whatever she wants when she makes her mind up. We need her to continue to be aggressive, and there aren’t too many people that can guard her because of her athleticism.”
It’s the fourth straight loss for the Panthers, who have sunk into fourth place in the MWC standings.
The Spartans will finish second in the league regardless of the outcome of Friday’s regular season finale at South Albany. Silverton clinched the outright league title Tuesday night with a win against Woodburn.
CHS led 8-4 early but consecutive 3-pointers by Alex Alvarez and Kylie Nash gave Central a 10-8 lead after one quarter.
A basket by Vallancey-Martinson tied it and Grace Corbin’s layin put the Spartans back on top at 12-10. Ellie Harding’s elbow 3 capped a 9-0 CHS run to start the second quarter, making it 17-10 in favor of the hosts.
Central cut it 18-17 on Nash’s runner with 1:30 remaining, and that score stood at the break.
“We knew going in we couldn’t take them lightly even though we beat them the first time because they’re a really good team, but I think senior night can be a distraction sometimes,” CHS senior guard Sydney Joss said. “In the second half, we came out strong like we needed to.
“If we start every game like we started that second half, then we are going to be good-to-go.”
CHS scored the third quarter’s first 10 points to go up double digits at 28-17.
The Spartans held a 35-25 advantage after three and led by no fewer than 10 the rest of the way.
“I thought our attention to detail was much better in the second half,” Garrison said. “I felt we didn’t react as much, and we were the first movers on offense and defense. Those are both aggressive acts, and credit to our girls for not being very satisfied with the first half and doing something about it.”
Nash led the Panthers with 12 points.
Corbin and Ana Dursch-Smith each added eight points for the Spartans. Nearly all of the points scored by Vallancey-Martinson, Corbin and Dursch-Smith came in the paint or at the free throw line.
“Getting the ball inside is something we are trying to emphasize every game,” Joss said. “Because I think our posts are very strong. (Alexandria) really gives us energy and Grace Corbin also gives us a lot of energy, so getting the ball inside early and often is big for us.”
CHS’ four seniors – Hannah Harding, Lily Beck, Joss and Dursch-Smith – were honored before the game.
The Spartans will get to play at home once more as CHS will host a 5A state round of 16 game on Friday, March 4. The winner will advance to the state tournament.
Corvallis 46, Central 31
CENTRAL 10 7 8 6 - 31
CORVALLIS 8 10 17 11 - 46
Central: Nash 12, Broadus, Omlid 8, Alvarez 5, Girod, Chavez 2, Riddell 4
Corvallis: Vallancey-Martinson 20, Corbin 8, Hurley 2, Dursch-Smith 8, Joss 5, E. Harding 3, L. Beck