By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Stayton answered to start the second set after Blanchet Catholic rallied from 18-14 down with a aggressive playing style, but the Eagles open the second set to build a 12-4 lead to start the second set against the Cavaliers and seemingly turned the game’s momentum into their favor.
“I thought it was really good but I wish we could’ve held it,” said Stayton’s Marri Martinez who helped the Eagles with some nice blocks during that second set especially.42
What happened next, behind Ally Jones and Kalea Salang, began to chip away to tie it at 18 apiece thanks in part to strong play all around and miscues by the Lady Eagles.
It’s the third game of the year for Blanchet and second for Stayton when the two met Tuesday night at Stayton High, with both trying to find a rhythm during the preseason play before entering their respective leagues later this season.
“That’s like our thing, whenever we’re down we push together and use each other’s…like all of our energy to feed off each other,” said Jones on the rally.
The Cavs pulled away for the second game win, 25-22, but the Eagles held strong going back-and-forth with Blanchet and leading 6-5 early on and once more had a 12-8 lead coming out of a Blanchet timeout.
The Lady Cavailers rallied to tie things up, but Stayton hanged around as both didn’t have a lead for long. A point here, a point there.
That was, until Blanchet made one final move to pull away for the 25-23, 25-22, 25-21 sweep over the Lady Eagles Tuesday night.
And though they were victorious out of the gate, Jones points to a area of improvement
that her and the Cavs can work on between now and when they travel to face Oregon Episcopal at 6pm Thursday evening.
“I think we can work on not hesitating, we had two people and we don’t know who which one is which,” said Jones on a area of improvement.
Stayton, who’s facing playoff-caliber teams like Central from the 5A level and Blanchet Catholic of the 3A thus far with the McKay tournament this weekend that will them even more battle-tested come league, the preseason is showing them what their coaches have been preaching so far this season.
“With this, we’re practically practicing for our league games,” said the Eagles Samatha Szmyd. “And so our coaches always say that if we can’t do this here, how can we do it in league? So it makes us much more better conditioned for league.”
Martinez also too added that these games too will help them for the Oregon West Conference-play by being able to adjust on the fly on the court as they await who they play Saturday at McKay.
“I think it’s getting us on the floor like predict coverage and we’re kind of figuring out where we need to be at times, where they’re going to be form different angles so that we’re ready,” Martinez said.