The Rogers Rams had a strong second-half performance, but Puyallup tightened up down the stretch and the Vikings held on for a 42-32 win Thursday night at Rogers High School.
Puyallup post Addie Picha, who finished with 14 points and two timely blocks in the final four minutes, said the Vikings shored up their defense in the fourth quarter.
“We just realized we needed to step it up on D, and we did,” Picha said. “When our coaches tell us to do something, we try our best to do it.”
Puyallup (10-2 overall) led 21-7 at halftime but saw its lead slowly slip away in the third quarter and early in the fourth.
Rogers guard Jazmin Gordon and Maloree Miller combined for 27 points and kept the Rams alive with their three-point shooting and drives to the basket. Rogers (4-9) outscored Puyallup 25-21 in the second half.
Picha said the Vikings wanted to capture a win against their crosstown rivals.
“We always want to beat them,” Picha said of Rogers. “We just came out fighting in the first half. We had a little lapse in the third quarter. We came back in the fourth quarter and did what we had to do.”
Puyallup head coach Cherokee Ainslie wasn’t happy with the way her team played defense in the third quarter.
“Maybe we took them for granted a little bit, and then our guards had to step up and play the D that they should have been playing all along,” Ainslie said. “We can’t take anyone lightly. Everyone is coming after you, and everyone wants to make the playoffs, so every night you have to play an A game.”
Picha said it comes down to focus.
“We can’t let those third-quarter lapses happen like we have been lately,” she said. “We just have to step it up on defense.”