Ashland held off a spirited and furious Hood River Valley second-half comeback to win the Class 4A/5A high school girls water polo state championship Saturday in Corvallis.

Top-seeded Hood River Valley fell behind early in the game and spent the remainder of the contest playing catchup, eventually using a 3-0 scoring run to pull within, 10-8 Hood River.

Hood River’s boys team ran into a hot West Albany squad, losing 11-6 in final.

The Eagle teams each won titles in 2019 and were seeded first into this year’s tourney at Osborn Aquatics Center. HRV girls Coach Kellie Dunn said her never-say-die team’s work ethic had Ashland exhausted by the fourth quarter.

“If we would have had about two more minutes, the way we were playing, we probably would have won in overtime,” Dunn said. “The Ashland coach said the same thing to me afterward.”

Ashland had also started out fast in its semifinal win earlier Saturday, 7-6, over West Albany. The Bulldogs rallied after trailing 5-2 at halftime and had a good opportunity to score in the closing seconds but could not convert on the game-tying attempt.

Hood River, which advanced to the final with a 13-7 first-round win over familiar foe Hillsboro, fell behind Ashland in the final 2-1 after one quarter.

“The semifinal game went really smoothly,” Dunn said. “The team definitely went into the first quarter super excited and ready to go. It was pretty close after the first quarter but then (Ashland) just kind of ran away from us in the second.”

Ashland, which won the 5A title in 2008, took a 7-2 halftime lead, which can be an insurmountable margin, Dunn said. “That’s a pretty big hole, but the girls have worked all season to not give up and keep battling.”

Dunn said Ashland was noticeably tired midway through the third period and HRV got its second wind. “We just kept attacking the whole game. We had essentially worn Ashland down; they were unable to convert on offense.”

Up until that point, Dunn said the Eagles “were struggling to find the back of the net. Ashland had a very good goalie and if our shots weren’t perfect, she was going to save them. (Then) we started to figure them out,” Dunn said of HRV’s 3-0 run in the final period.

Mary Rose Kissinger led HRV — which also won state titles in 2016 and 2017 — with four goals in the championship match; teammate Emma Titus added three and two assists; and Anna Southall added two assists. Kissinger and Titus were first-team all-tourney selections. Sophie Cross, Sarah Arpag, who had seven steals in the title match, and goalie Esme Price were second-team picks.

Dunn said, “We always go in hoping to come out with first place at state,” Dunn said. “But I’m very at peace with where we landed, considering how young the team is.”

Hood River loses just two seniors, Kissinger and Arpag, to graduation. “Out of all the championship games, this is the closest score that we’ve had — on either the losing or winning side.

“While second place isn’t where we wanted to finish our season, I am so proud of my team and everything they accomplished. This group has incredible mental toughness that will serve us well in the coming seasons.”

Hood River, which won the boys team title in 2019 and was third in both 2017 and 2018, advanced to Saturday’s championship match with a 13-6 win over fifth-seeded Ashland. The Grizzlies had advanced to the semifinals with a 10-8 first round win over Parkrose. Ashland goalie Sam Stiles had 23 saves against the Broncos, but he couldn’t keep HRV’s offensive attack in check.

West Albany made it to the title match with a dominating, 13-4, win earlier Saturday afternoon over Hillsboro. West was third in 2019 when HRV won the crown; West also won the boys water polo state title in 2010.