By Jeremy McDonald
SEASIDE, Ore.–It wasn’t the prettiest game for the Lady Huskies to end the preseason with, but hey, a win is a win.
Entering the second half, North Marion led the new-look Seaside Seagulls team in their first season in the post-Maddi Utti era 20-5 and 30-15 after three quarters even though the Huskies found themselves battling through turnovers, communication to one another, etc..
But it was a learning experience for them to work through what Mya Hammack mentioned as it seemed like her and her team were a little frazzled in the game as they enter league 10-4 following the 42-21 victory over Seaside.
“We seemed to be a little frazzled today and I think we all need to stay calm and get the ball good and play like we can,” said Hammack, who scored two points. “I think it can teach us that we can’t let what we can’t control get in our way. We can’t let the refs, you can see (Seaside) was very physical and we can’t let that get in our way. We need to Stay calm, pass the ball, move the ball and just play our game.”
For a team that battled tooth-and-nail this preseason against some interesting talent from the West Coast like the now 14-4 Granite Bay Grizzlies from California and Valley Catholic here in Oregon along with their basketball-minded coach in Trevor Bodine, there’s no doubt they’ll be ready for a Oregon West Conference-league that has all six teams no lower than 17th in the State and no worse than 9-4 overall and it all starts in practice.
“Pushing ourselves in practice, we know we got a tough league coming up, so we just got to keep pushing each other and making sure that we’ll becoming better each practice,” said Hannah Kinniburgh. Both Kinniburgh and Ally Umbenhower scored six points each.
Mar Verastegui led all scorers with 10 for North Marion.
On the guys side, they’ve showcase a lot grit, a lot of that ‘clutch factor’ with several gutzy performances that results in several wins.
Against a 10-2 Seaside team, the Huskies lead at one point by 17 points against the defending 4A State Champions. Unthinkable almost to imagine as North Marion came out with a lot of energy, espically on the defensive end as it led to several guys stepping up big with big shots entering the halftime break.
But, the Seagulls showed why they are on the forefront of the favorites to return to the big game as they began to chip away at the lead and eventually took the lead and denying the Huskies an opportunity to bring home a big-time win, falling 58-55 on the road.
“It always sucks to lose a game like that by three points, but at the same time it’s good because we know that we can beat teams, the best teams, in the State,” said Any Schmitz. “We can hang with the best teams in the State, I mean we were up 17 in the first-half.
“So it was a bittersweet way to end it, but at the same time we take a lot of lessons away from it, we work on it. We’ll bring what we know what we need to work on for the league season and we go in it with a clean slate and go in and work.”
At 7-7, North Marion enters league looking to seperate themselves with a tough preseason schedule.
Cascade is the best team in the league record-wise at 8-5 with Newport right behind them at 8-6, and though the Cougars, Cubs, Huskies and Philomath are in the Top 12 or so, Stayton at 27 are looking to be gelling together to make OWC-play just that much more interesting as both North Marion teams open up versus Newport at home.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald