The challenges were their after losing to Salem Academy big the night before and it wasn’t going to get easier versus Dayton.
The Lady Pirates were in the last three 3A Title Games, winning two in 2015 and 2016 and senior Shawnie Spink been one of the State’s best, winning Player of the Year twice in 3A and sisters Alli and KJ Nyquist were responsible in guarding her.
“I knew she was going to do some good things, I watched her last night and I knew she had some great potential and I knew she could get it to her big’s,” said the five-foot-two-inch Alli Nyquist on guarding the five-six guard. “And my job was to help try to shut her down and make it so our post can get the opportunity to have a easier time on the base.
“She did some really good moves a couple times and she did get me, but I felt like I did a pretty good job.”30
Sister KJ, who’s about two-inches taller than her older sister, spoke to the competition she had with Spinks
“She’s a really good player, I respect her a lot,” said KJ Nyquist, who took a hard foul from Spink going up for a rebound in the fourth quarter. “I think it was good competition, we competed well against each other and just had a good game.”
The Nyquist sisters held Spink, who won 3A Player of the Year as a freshman and a sophomore to 10 total points, five total entering the fourth quarter as Spinks showed her frustrations
For much of the game Stayton’s defense challenged one of 3A’s favorite for the Title being down four at halftime and entering the fourth.
In the post, Alexa Bender, Marri Martinez and Lexi Smart had their hands full with the Pirates muscular post in five-eleven Kalina Rojas and six-one Chloe Cisneros; but it was a challenge they were facing head-on.
“It was hard, it was definitely rough but I thought we got in there pretty well and they got more rebounds, more offensive rebounds that we should have let them,” said Bender. “But it was fun getting more competition like that, pushing us harder.”
As it seemed like the Pirates were pulling away, Bender converted an ‘And 1’ to keep it around ten in the fourth as they were communicating more than Dayton to make it then 36-28.
Alli Nyquist points to that fact that Friday’s game against Salem Academy and now Dayton, two powerhouse 3A teams who are favorite to go to the State Title Game, are good for the squad as they prepare for Banks Tuesday, Central in a few weeks and North Marion and Cascade come league.
Head Coach Darren Shryock even includes Lakeview, who Stayton beat 50-17 on Thursday and was a Elite 8 team in 2016 in 3A as another good test they can reflect upon moving forward.
“It’s great to play teams this good, this early,” “We played three pretty good teams, Lakeview isn’t a bad team either. But especially the last two nights, it was a good test for us. It was a little bit of a gut check, so here we go right? We got to figure out what we do from here.
“What steps do we have to take to be better from here.”
Call Dayton’s fourth-quarter heroics to avoid a ‘upset’ of sorts in finding a groove or Stayton simply running out of gas facing two teams who will most likely will be playing for the Title in Coos Bay in March or whatever, the Pirates used rebounding off of the Lady Eagle’s missed shots to put the game away for the 47-28 victory Saturday night as both teams head back home for the rest of their seasons.
But for Stayton, it serves as a lesson for how they can improve upon for the Braves here in a few days.
“I think we need to get some rebounding and that’s not just our post, our guards need to get in there too, I think some help-side,” said Alli Nyquist. “We’ll get there but if we can keep our defense improving, I think we’ll have a really good season.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS 1 2 3 4 — t
PIRATES 13 6 8 20 — 47
EAGLES 6 9 8 5 — 28
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