By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON Ore.– It was an interesting game between Blanchet Catholtic and Stayton entering the SCTC Girls Bracket Championship game Friday at Stayton High School.
With a slow start by both teams that saw both squads miss shots a few minutes into the game alongwith strong defense had the Lady Eagles led 8-6 after one, but the Cavailers press created turnovers and being their run-and-gun offense, BC turned the deficit into a 18-14 halftime lead with momentum in favor of the 3A team.
Coming out of halftime, there was a spark in favor of Stayton as Alexa Bender got the squad rolling thanks to several cruical blocks and rebounds as the Eagles were able to push some tempo down the court as they were able to keep the game within favorable striking distance during the second half.
“The energy is high, it’s our torunament (and) we wanted it really, really bad,” said Bender. “And I think our effort really shows how far we’ve come already this season.”
Weird thing, you barely see it in basketball, but it’s good for facing a streaky team like a Stayton of slowing the game down.
That’s what the Cavs did whenever they got the ball as they were trying to keep the ball away from the Eagles guards who normally shoot three’s at a healthy clip as Blanchet lead 26-24 after three.
Next thing you knew, the Cavailers switched it up on Stayton in the fourth and were pushing tempo as they grew their lead to seven during the final frame.
That was, until some of those guards found the open shot as the Eagles kept battling to win their tournament.
Tess Hendricks for three, then Emma Lindemann added another three as Stayton found themselves down one with two minutes to go in the game.
BC again started to slow play, trying to run the clock as they kept matched the Eagles basket-for-basket as Bender again brought Stayton to within one with a hard fought shot.
But, the Cavs, a Top 10 team in 3A and entered the game 6-1, proved too much in the final minute as they held off host Eagles for the 39-36 win to close out the SCTC Tournament.
However, Head Coach Darren Shryock liked how the girls were, and stayed, competitive in the contest against a very tough Blanchet squad.
“They competed very well,” said Shryock. “I’m really pleased with how they competed. Obviously we turned the ball over one too many times, that was our Achilles Heel of the night.
“Overall, that’s a step forward for us. That was the best game we’ve played as far as competing as concerned. That’s a good one to have heading into, we got two games left before league; if we keep that trajectory, we’re going to be in good shape.”
For Lindemann, she said that this game will help them prepare for team’s like rival-Cascade by helping them prepare to be as competitive as they were Friday to those two games.
“We can definitely learn to keep ourselves discipline more,” said Lindemann. “And just to run our stuff and to keep pushing. It was really good to play them, it was a really fun game.
“Its definitely good,” adds Lindemann on that second half battling, “Cascade is definitely going to do with us, it’s what harder teams going to do with us. So it’s good to get that out here in the tournament and I think we battled really hard.”
Though frustrated that they didn’t win, they know they have many other games to go as they now prepare for Corbett Tuesday up at Corbett High School.
“You know, it was frustrating but that was one of our best games this whole entire season, so I can live with it,” said Bender. “It shows our potential for how far we can go for the rest of the season.”
EAGLE SCORERS- Bender-14. Lindemann, A-8. Hendricks-7. Martinez-4. Lindemann, E.-3.
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!
Photos By Jeremy McDonald