By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.—It was a tearful walk to the bus to go back up to Aurora Thursday night in Salem. Tearful because they saw the fruit of their labor, come to an end by the hands by one of the best 3A Girls Basketball teams in the State of Oregon.
Though the scoreboard read: Blanchet Catholic 42, North Marion 32, this loss to the number five team in 3A hurts, but it will not defined who they are as a unit and as a team.
““It’s definitely something we need to take apart of and notice and give them credit because there not a bad team, Blanchet is a really good team,” said Hannah Kinnburgh. “They know how to do their stuff and they executed well and I think we need to take it in for other games.
“This does not define us.”
Coming in, you knew this was going to be a big game.
The Cavaliers sat at 10-1, the Huskies 11-1. Blanchet were looking to snap another 10-plus game winning streak to go with their big win over then 11-0 Salem Academy; North Marion, to finish strong in the preseason with one last game to go.
While the Huskies came out flat, the Cavs took full advantage of it by building a 9-1 lead midway through the first.
But, Mar Verastegui and Ally Umbenhower made some crucial plays as their aggressive play style woke up as they ended the first tied at 9. Next thing you knew, it was 14-9 and North Marion held a sizable lead for a good amount of the second quarter.
“We always have games where we start really late, we don’t bring the intensity from the very beginning,” said Verastegui.“And once we realize that we were down 9-1, we fought back up. But again, we were on a roller coaster and we went down and we couldn’t get back up after that…but you do your best to get back up and that’s what we tried.”
Then, a figurative wall came up and hit the Huskies as they struggle to find a shot and find a rebound as Blanchet capitalized on turnovers and fouls to turn the deficit to a 23-19 lead by the halftime lead.
North Marion were able to cut it to one as Umbenhower hit a big three early in the third, but couldn’t overcome a two-, three-possession deficit to keep their winning streak alive as this game served as an eye opening experience for the squad.
“I think this was a big eye opener,” said Verastegui. “We’re not used to losing obviously and this allowed us, Blanchet showed us that we can lose, we’re not undefeated. But they’re a good team.”
The frustrations are there of course, you could see it on everyone’s face.
But it’s not the end of the world, and there’s still many more games to go as you saw, deep down, they are already planning to use this pain for fuel for their next game.
For now, their next focus will be against Seaside Friday night at 5:30pm.
“I mean there’s other games, it wasn’t the championship game, it’s not the end of the world,” said Kinniburgh. “But I think we should come tomorrow, forget about this game and come out hard against Seaside.”
HUSKIE SCORERS-Kinniburgh-10..Umbenhower-9. Verastegui-7. Scanlan-4.
JV BASKETBALL–North Marion jumped out to a 37-15 mid-third quarter advantage behind great rebounding and a strong defensive presence against Blanchet.
Though the Cavaliers traded blows with the Lady Huskies JV squad in the fourth, but North Marion’s strong play kept Blanchet Catholic at Bay for the 51-30 victory as the Huskies continue their winning ways at the Junior Varsity level.
“I think we’re doing pretty good, we all play pretty well together and I think that works because we have a pretty good winning streak going,” said Kenzie Ulven, who scored two points in the win Thursday. “We were lifting each other up and ready to play (today),”
You saw some fun and excitment by the North Marion girls as Raymee Boese dropped 20 points, 14 in the second half of the game as they set the stage for the night’s Varsity game.
JV HUSKIE SCORERS-Boese-20. Holum-9. Martin-8. Lucas-4. Ensign-2. Ulven-2. Porfily-2.Cobb-2. Aguilera-2.
BOYS BASKETBALL- North Marion 63, Blanchet Catholic 39.
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PHOTOS BY JEREMY MCDONALD