By Jeremy McDonald
COOS BAY– Late in the third quarter the Lady Eagles were looking for a spark, anything, to get back into their game versus Marshfield down 13.
Up to this point, everything was going against them, turnovers, fouls, etc. as they found themselves down 13 late.
But, fittingly, a pair of seniors got something going.
First it was Tess Hendricks hitting a big three to get the score to 10 late in the third followed by strong defense by her and Alyssa Lindemann as Stayton slowly built some momentum down 13 entering the fourth.
“There a huge part of our team, we all look up to them,” said Emma Lindemann. “Especially Alyssa, it’s going to be hard next year without her, Tess or Sami (Sheppard). There really definitely good role models and we’re going to try to build up to where they are next year.”
They feed off their seniors entering the fourth as Marri Martinez, Alex Bender and Lindemann all stepped up to match the intensity of their seniors as they cut it to two-possessions late in the game.
“We looked at the score and we didn’t want to be our last time, so we have to put everything we got into the fourth quarter,” said Martinez on flipping the switch in the fourth quarter. “We kind of broke down but we had to pick it up, unfortunately it didn’t work as we thought it would. But we played hard in the fourth quarter, we didn’t give up.”
Pirate Free Throws proved to be the deciding factor of the game as the Senior-lead Stayton rally fell just short of completion.
Though it hurts, Head Coach Darren Shryock showed how proud he was for the seniors in that fourth quarter charge.
“Really proud, they gave it all they had all year (long), asked them to do a bunch of different things than they were used to and they responded really well,” said Shryock. “Just pleased with them, first of all as people. They have amazing character and that showed with how hard they worked and played and how much they gave in the fourth.”
Alyssa’s sister Emma pointed to lessons that the seniors left behind for her, Martinez, Alexa Bender and crew as they prepare to make another push for the playoffs and for that berth in the Elite 8 in 2017-2018.
“Definetly confidence,” said Emma Lindemann. “They gave us a lot of confidence in ourselves and to never give up.”
And, as Shryock eluded to, it all starts between March and November to do most of the improvement happens before they start talking X’s and O’s come season time.
“We were talking about from March to November, that’s where most of the development needs to take place,” said Shryock.
“It’s not in-season, it’s more X’s and O’s and what to do and getting better as players happens in the off-season.
“So that’s the challenge for the other kids to step up and contribute.