By Jeremy McDonald
SPRINGFIELD, Ore.– What a way to end a four-game weekend for the Stayton Eagles Girls Basketball team.
Against a scrappy North Eugene squad, the Eagles slowly matched that intensity as Alexa Bender picked up several blocks early in the first-half. KJ Nyquist leaped up for one herself towards the end of the first half to deny the Highlights of a for sure lay-in with the game close at halftime.
Entering the final 90 seconds of the game and the score in favor of Stayton by three, 32-29, Marri Martinez had a late block with 1:28 left in the game as the ball went of bound.
Another big defensive stand by the Eagles ended up in KJ Nyquist forces a jump ball with 1:04 left, but was in favor of the Highlanders, but North Eugene overthrew their in-bounds pass giving Stayton the possession
A scrappy game like this, doesn’t just help the team come together for this particular game, but for the rest of the summer to help carry momentum over to the season ahead as the team gels together with one another as they polished off their fourth-win in two days.
“I feel like it’s a big confidence booster is that we went 4-0 this week as oppose to, ‘hey, we beat a 6A team’ or ‘we lost to a 6A team’, it’s just we came out with four wins,” said Lexi Smart. “So we don’t really look at who the league is, we’re just going.”
Now with one game in between now and Friday-Sunday’s George Fox University Tournament in Newberg, a challenge is presented for the Eagles squad because Tuesday’s game versus Molalla and Central is the only time they’ll get to physically work on what they need to work on before the tournament considering they won’t have practice time.
But Smart referred to a interesting sports psychology technique in visualizing what they need to work on, getting those mental reps in, between now and this upcoming weekend.
“We don’t have any practice so we just have to reflect on our game and see where we can do better at as individuals,” said Smart. “Even if it’s a team process, we have to see what we can do as ourselves because if we’re not practicing all together then you can only work on yourself.”
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald