AMITY, Ore.– It seemed like their game versus Dayton and that result was so far away from their memories when the Lady Warriors of Amity jumped out to a 16-2 lead after the first quarter over Willamina with Amity clicking on all cylinders on the offense and defensive sides of the ball.
But, they seemed to lay off the gas a bit in the second quarter as their offense scored only four points and the Bulldogs picking up steam with strong rebounding that they were converting into seven second quarter points that cut the Warrior lead from 14 down to a 20-9, 11-point deficit by the halftime break.
“It was good, I like it when we come out strong. Sometimes we have games where we come out really slow and it’s hard to find that,” said Shealyn McClean on the success in the first quarter. “They slowed the ball down (in the second quarter) a lot and I think we got down on their level in a way and we kind of roll with them instead of pushing the ball like we like to do”
Coming out for the second half however, Amity regained their first quarter mojo and that fire they had in that opening frame as they went on an absolute tear to start the third as they outscored 15-2 and McClean scored seven points in the frame and helped with rebounds alongside with Lilyann Dulmer and company.
The two points from Willamina came from a pair of free throws by Ellah Neville with 1:01 left in the third quarter as the Lady Warriors sailed to a 49-19 victory Friday night in game two of three this week.
“Pretty much when we came out in the second half, we just came out fast and pretty much out run them and stay cool with our passes, we didn’t rush anything,” said Keeley Graham, the sophomore helped that first quarter run with five points herself as she finished with seven on the game.
The Amity Girls aren’t done just yet, with Horizon Christian on Friday, they have a two-game lead on Willamina for third with three games left in the season and are just a game behind Santiam Christian for second in the West Valley Conference Standings as they head into Friday’s game with a good day’s practice Thursday.
“I think we just have to have a good practice tomorrow and come out strong like we know how,” said McClean.
Amity knew that Willamina would be tough Wednesday night and knew they were a very good team as they saw aa the Bulldogs jumped out to a 10-9 first quarter lead.
But the Warrirors overcame a slow start against the tough squad in front of them to build a 30-21 lead only see it dwindle to five by halftime as Willamina rallied.
“We knew Willamina a lot better this year so we had to come out with a lot of intensity to match them because they are doing very good this year and they could take away from us this year,” said Brandon Wilson who helped spark the mid-first half rally with seven first quarter points.
The Bulldogs continued this trend of pushing Amity into the third as they cut it to three several times early as the Warriors battled to stay out in front by trading blows themselves with Willamina, but Amity battled to build their lead back to close to double figures for the bulk of the third and the second half as a matter of fact.
That double-figured lead was well earned to say the least entering the fourth as Willamina didn’t shy away
Willamina made them work for that lead as both sides would trade shot for shot entering the final few minutes.
Though the game was physical to the very end as it never felt like what the score suggested, you thought the next shot would win it by either team as the crowd was cheering on their athletes on the court below.
“Yeah it was back-and-forth,” said Clint Hatch on the intensity of this game. “We all kept our confidence in each other. We just excited our plays like we should and we kept that lead and it was pretty good.”
And it kind of did as Brandon Wilson hit one of his two Free Throws where he made the first one and after a scramble after his second missed, Clint Hatch got the ball and laid it in as Amity picked up a very physical 14-point, 75-61, win as a game of this magnitude, going toe-to-toe speaks volumes of this team this year.
“We just don’t give up easy,” say Hatch. “We don’t take anything for granted. Someone has a worse record, we don’t go easier or anything, but we shouldn’t take teams for granted and we don’t and we work hard.”
They have one more game, on the road at Horizon Christian in Tualatin and their third this week, they know they need to focus in on practice to stay focused for that game as the Hawks look to close the gap between themselves and Amity for second in the conference with a few games left in the season.
And it comes down to one thing with the home stretch coming up on the season:
“A good practice tomorrow,” said Wilson.
The girls game is at 6p, the guys game is at 7:30pm
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald