By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Blanchet Catholic and Kennedy entered the Monday Night Doubleheader Showdown as some of the top ranked teams in their respective classifications.
The Cavs Boys at eight, the Blanchet girls at fifth. The Trojan 2A boys sit at 12th and the Kennedy girls at the second-ranked team in all of 2A.
As both teams wind down their seasons, it was one last great opportunities for these teams to test out what they need to improve on with the postseason just a few days out.
In the Girls Game, the Lady Cavaliers pushed tempo as eventually
2nd quarter started to push tempo and match Kennedy’s intensity as Hailey Ostby gave Blanchet their first lead at 19-17 since Ana Coronado did so with free throws at the start of the game.
That lead would ballooned to 30-21 with 50 seconds to go as they led by that score at the half.
“It’s really important because that’s how we play, that’s what we practice,” said Emily Collier. “It’s just hard to get into that groove with the defense that their team brings, so it’s important now to get comfortable into that now when we get into playoffs.”
They held onto the nine-point lead for most of the third quarter before the Trojans began to chip it away, getting it to 40-37 with the clock going under five to go in the game.
But they would increase the lead with free throws, back up to 44-37 as free throws proved crucial for the Cavs down the stretch.
Coronado points to wanting to keep the pace of the game up as they’ve been doing all game with a hard push and battle hard with the Trojans, but admits that if those free throws went the other way, it could’ve been a little too close for comfort in the 50-40 win.
“We know to focused with those free throws, we take them pretty seriously too because we realize that if we would’ve missed those free throws, we went 10-for-10 in the second half, it would’ve been a two-point game with a minute left,” said Coronado.
Facing a team of Kennedy’s caliber really brings out the best in teams, to see where you can improve on between now and the playoffs for a team like Blanchet. 3A-2A, doesn’t matter, good teams are good teams as the Lady Cavaliers look to the Lady Braves of Chemawa Tuesday to improve upon their weakness’.
“Chemawa isn’t going be any different because they’re battling for a State playoff game too, so we won’t take them for granted at all, we’re going to play the same,” said Coronado. “We’re going to take care of the ball more, rely on each other to do our own thing. Do everything, not play selfishly and we’re doing good, we’re not relying on Sophie (Poole) to make those three and do those things. We’re all helping her out and becoming more of a team.”
Poole finished with nine points while Coronado finished with 13. As for Collier, who added another five, it’s about carrying that second quarter into Tuesday’s game as they improve on their weakness’ for the rest of this week.
“We got to keep playing like we played in the second quarter today, but look back on our weakness’ and look on finishing them and shortening our stands of bad moments and creating more good ones,” adds Collier.
The Boys of Blanchet jumped out to a 8-0 lewd before Kennedy got it to within three entering the second quarter with a late first quarter push.
Coming out of the quarter break, RJ Veliz and Ryan Stebner combined for five points to help the Cavs to their five-point advantage with about two minutes gone in the 2nd quarter.
But, the thing that got Blanchet into trouble during the second quarter was the paint.
The Trojans kept challenging that area of the Cavalier defense as Blanchet had to foul to keep from giving up the easy lay-in, the resulting in Free Throws that gave Kennedy a 20-16 lead. The Trojans remained in the lead by the half as they pulled away from the Cavs in the third quarter for the 67-49 victory Monday Night.
For these two great teams, to have it end this way leaves a sour taste in the mouths of Blanchet entering Tuesday’s night game versus Chemawa. The Cavaliers believed that they were the better team that night, and their faces proved just that.
“It’s just an awful game overall, we played terrible,” “I don’t believed the better team came out on top but they played better than us today and we got to give it to them, they played harder than us.
“Played no defense today at all, stagnate on offense. Just a bad game overall.”
As they trickle out of the locker room, you could tell this has hit home for the team looking for a deep 3A OSAA State Tournament run this season.
Kind of a reality check, the gas for the fire to get back on track to where they want to be here in a few weeks.
“It’s big motivation, it’s kind of a reality check,” said Veliz. “We got to get it together because we’re not going to be playing any bad teams in State, it’s only going to get tougher from here.”
“Just focus in practice, going hard everyday and just flipping the switch once we get to the game, I mean we can’t play lazy like that like we did today, we got to flip the switch.”
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