ERIE -- With each 3-pointer splashed through by Roosevelt's Becky Eidson, the Erie girls basketball team's double-digit lead continued to diminish.
Eventually, it was all gone.
But the Tigers have a capable scorer of their own in Amanda Ochoa, who possesses the dual role of team leader. And with the momentum firmly in the hands of the visiting Roughriders on Tuesday night, Ochoa extracted Erie from the abyss and helped the Tigers pull out a key 50-42 Class 4A Tri-Valley League win.
"The biggest thing from me was I told them was trying to lead them on the court, talk to them, and tell them we need to hustle, hustle, hustle," said Ochoa, who scored a season-best 24 points. "I told them it starts with our defense."
For awhile, it looked like the Tigers (10-8, 6-4) had no defense for Eidson, a 5-foot-3 senior guard who can simply shoot the lights out. She finished with 25 points, including 5-for-10 shooting from 3-point range -- and that's after missing her final two attempts with Erie finally rushing the perimeter when she got the ball.
Eidson scored 14 points in the third quarter alone, helping the Roughriders (9-10, 6-4) reduce an 11-point deficit to 38-36 entering the fourth. Shortly into the fourth, Roosevelt led 39-38.
"She's a great player, but the thing that got us tonight was sending her to the line," Erie coach Noel Potter said. "She went to the line way too much, and that hurt us. But you're not going to shut her down. You're just going to try to keep her contained."
Eidson went 6 for 9 from the foul line, but that was a far cry from Ochoa, who seemingly had rented space there. Ochoa went 12 for 20 from the foul line, tallying half her points from the stripe.
"Definitely not satisfying for me," Ochoa said of her free-throw marksmanship. "I think it was an OK turnout for me overall, and we needed those points, so I'm glad I could help out. But I think I definitely needed to make a few more."
Serena Gudino added 10 points for Erie before following out, and the Tigers also got strong inside contributions from Piper Zeier and Haley Gallagher.
Erie entered the day in a muddled mess of four teams entrenched in the Nos. 2-5 spots in the league standings. The victory was huge in that regard, with Roosevelt having entered the night a game up on the Tigers.
"It was a really important win, because after our loss to Berthoud (on Jan. 29) we really needed to redeem ourselves and go on a streak here," Zeier said.
Thankfully for the Tigers, Eidson didn't ruin any chance of putting a strong run together to close the regular season.
"She was just really on tonight," Zeier said.
Erie finished 12-12 last season, but rather than dipping to .500 (both overall and in league), the Tigers came through late and won their second straight since the Berthoud loss.
"We finally started running the defense we'd been practicing, and that was it," Potter said.
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Erie 50, Roosevelt 42
At Erie HS
ROOSEVELT (9-10, 6-4)
S. Jacox 3 0-1 6, Eidson 7 6-9 25, Pague 2 0-0 5, Minick 0 0-0 0, Kammerzell 0 0-0 0, Daniels 0 1-2 1, A. Jacox 0 5-6 5. Totals 12 12-18 42.
ERIE (10-8, 6-4)
Gallagher 2 3-4 7, Ochoa 5 12-20 24, Kudrna 0 1-2 1, Gudino 3 4-4 10, Zeier 4 0-1 8, Bauchert 0 0-0 0, Fitzgerald 0 0-0 0, Romey 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 20-31 50.
Score by quarters:
Roosevelt 7 10 19 6 -- 42
Home 17 8 13 12 -- 50
3-point field goals -- Roosevelt (6): Eidson 5, Pague; Erie (2): Ochoa 2. Total fouls -- Roosevelt 21, Erie 19. Fouled out -- A. Jacox, Minick, Eidson, Gudino, Kudrna. Technical fouls -- None.