By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– It wasn’t what the Lady Eagles were looking for in their final three-game stretch of the regular season.
Yeah hosting a playoff game would’ve been nice, yeah beating rival Cascade would’ve been even better; but now they have to turn their focus to Elmira High in the Eugene area to make it to the bracket.
“I think the girls learned a lot the last three games,” said Lady Eagles Head Coach Melissa Hollenbeck. “I think what they learned the most out of everything is you got to take care of business at the beginning because you can’t leave it to the RPI, or leave it to someone else’s hands to dictate to when or how the you are playing.”
Mariah Hollenbeck said in terms of getting the team back into a winning way, get the positive vibes going as they did for the better part of the season, is to take it one step at a time.
“It’s a new game just like it’s a new day,” said the junior. “We play every game like it’s our last.”
It could quiet possible be the last as Stayton enters the fame ‘One and Done’ part of the season as they look to break into the actual playoff bracket with a win Friday night versus the Falcons.
But as the younger Hollenbeck put it, it all comes down to focus come game time.
“It’s really important just to stay focus and play with that intensity the whole time,” said Hollenbeck. “When coach calls a timeout we all need to stay focus and stay intense and get our teammates pumped up.”
For Coach Hollenbeck, she’s telling her team that, hey, it’s a new start records don’t mean squat anymore and take it one game at a time.
“Every team at this point of time gets to play some of their non-league opponents now,” she said. “It’s going to be a different set-up, it’s going to be able to adjust and adapt. Being on the road for one, but being able to adjust and react to their style of game and their style in the area.
“We’ve played two games already down in that area so we’re pretty familiar with the three officials and so we will definitely find our comfort zone and figure out what we need to do really quickly and then keep attacking.”
A little about Elmira:
They’re a young team with just two seniors on roster, but finished second in the Sky ‘Em League nonetheless and are 20th-ranked in the State of Oregon in 4A. They have experience Oregon West Conference competition squeaking by Philomath by three to start the season before losing to North Marion by 12 December 12.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm at Elmira High School.
Jeremy McDonald is a professional sports journalist in the Salem/Portland area and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalist in Oregon with B.S. degrees from Southern Oregon University in Journalism (2011) and Health/PE (2013). Got a story idea? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @J_McDonald81