STAYTON, Ore.—Stayton found a way that a few have all year to slow Cascade down:
By keeping the ball out of their hands.
Following Alyssa Lindemann’s three to tie it at seven, they started to circulate the ball around as Lexi Smart hit a mid-range jumper to give the Lady Eagles a 9-7 lead.
They battled for rebounds as they held that score entering the second quarter when they continued to slow the pace the game down, and it worked as they increased their lead to 13-7 late in the first half.
But, Cascade slowly found a rhythm in the final moments to take a 15-13 lead by halftime.
“They had some solid defense, I think we figured out a way to move the ball around,”said Cascade Cougar Lexi Loukojarvi. “We have a strong offense with a bunch of shooters and I think that’s really helpful.
The Lady Cougars carried that momentum into the final half as they slowly pulled away as they led 35-23 after three quarters en route to a (score) final as their shooters found their groove.
Halle Wright scored 15 of her 21 points, Mariah Hollenbeck had all 10 of her points and Kelsey Molan scored seven of her 13 points in the second half.
“The first half, it was awesome,” said Stayton’s Alexa Bender. “We really battled really hard and then the second half we kind of went downhill. There’s nothing we can do about it now.”
Bender finished with a team-high eight points in the contest, six coming from the third quarter. Sierra Shelton added another six for the Lady Eagles.
The experience shows where they can improve upon as they’re schedule features at Yamhill-Carlton (Tuesday), yet another tough challenge at North Marion versus the Lady Huskies (Friday) and Senior Night versus Newport (Tuesday February 21).
“I think just having good practices and having the hype and energy that we had in the first half, I think we’ll be fine for the next three games,” said Bender.
As for the Cougars, they too have to play North Marion one more time, but that’ll be on February 21 at home. In the meantime they have Newport on Tuesday at home before traveling to Philomath Friday with one thing that’s possibly floating around:
Can they go undefeated entering the playoffs?
They know it’s there, but they are focusing on one game at a time.
“I think we keep our mind off undefeated season because we focus a lot on the next game we’re playing,” said Loukojarvi. “We don’t think too far ahead and we just stay focus on the next game.”
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald