By Jeremy McDonald
SUTHERLIN, Ore.–While they try to beat the snow storm rolling in to the north of them, the Stayton Lady Eagles rallied awake in the second quarter versus a Sutherlin team that once had a 60-game winning streak that stretched from the start of the 2013 season through four-games into last season.
It wasn’t the start that Stayton was looking for against the Bulldogs down 13-3 after the first quarter, but something snapped, and the Eagles woke up.
Behind strong play by Lexi Smart and a combination of Tess Hendricks and Alyssa Lindemann; a 10-point deficit and momentum against them turned into a 22-17 manageable deficit by halftime with momentum up in the air.
“It felt good to come out with energy and not come out flat,” said Hendricks, who had a team-high 13 points in the game. “And we stayed in it pretty well.”
“If we’re playing intense and we’re playing hard, we’re going to keep that ball rolling,” adds Smart to how they got the ball going in that second quarter.
Coming out in the third, Stayton continued their pace as they traded blows with Sutherlin as Hendricks kept the Eagles to within three with 5:15 to go in the third quarter.
But then, turnovers allowed the Bulldogs to back up 12 with a few minutes to play in the third. However, Stayton self-corrected the errors to get it to seven entering the fourth as they are growing use to the high-end caliber of competition like a Sutherlin has to offer.
“It makes us feel good,” said Smart.”It test us and it makes us stronger, and we’re just building.”
The Eagles stayed within two-,three-possessions for the reminder of the game, but a few costly miscues inhibit Stayton from getting any closer than that as the Bulldogs gave a 43-36 victory to their home crowd.
“I think we competed well throughout, we just picked bad times to turn it over,” said Head Coach Darren Shryock. “Then we had double-digit (deficit) in the fourth, which just kills. It didn’t give us a chance to get scores at the other end.
“But we battled back, got some clean looks, adjusted to the 1-2-2. Hadn’t seen that most of the year, practiced against it but haven’t seen it live. Overall this was a step forward, we have clearly a ways to go, but we’re taking some steps forward.”
Now, the Eagles will have, weather-permitting, one more preseason game before they open Oregon West Conference play versus a very tough and physical team:
But before the Warriors, Stayton will play host to Astoria to close out their preseason as the Eagles look to end strong come week’s end.
“I think, on Friday,we should just finish strong and be ready for league,” said Hendricks.
Lady Eagle Scorers- Hendricks-13, Lindemann, A.-8, Shelton-6, Martinez-5, Bender-4.
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