By Jeremy McDonald
It seemed like not too long ago that Stayton saw Dayton running away with their game at Sutherlin High School on December 2, handing the Lady Eagles their second loss of the season before losing their third a few days later to Banks 55-52 on December 5 to fall to 1-3 on the year.
Fast forward to January 12, there in Astoria tipping off against the Fighting Fishermen with now an eight-game winning streak looking for number nine.
But nine wouldn’t be easy to start.
Astoria came out aggressive with a hard press that caught the Eagles off guard and for a while, held a 3-2 lead before Stayton got comfortable with what their adversary was giving them and began to chip away and built a 21-7 lead by halftime.
For the Eagles, they’re a little familiarized with the press running one themselves.
“I think we have a good press and we know how to execute on a press so we actually want them to be in a press actually, so we know how to break it down,” said Marri Martinez, who scored eight of her 18 points in the first quarter against the Fishermen. “We weren’t worry about it, we were ready.”
Entering the third quarter though as Astoria switched to more of a zone entering halftime, Stayton utilized that dreaded lack of a shot-clock that Oregon has that other States like California have in preps, as Alli Nyquist and KJ Nyquist just played a simple game of pass and catch for roughly three minutes and trying to draw the Fighting Fishermen out of their defense.
“We knew we had the advantage going man-to-man so they weren’t going to come out and guard us,” said Alli Nyquist, who traded a few smiles with her sister during the pass-back period. “We were just going to take time and we had the lead and it didn’t make sense for us to go and try to force something when we got the lead at the time and they weren’t going to come guard us.”
After a few minutes, Astoria did break out of their zone to try to attack the sister guards that resulted in an Eagle basket and the Fishermen pushed tempo once more.
But all Astoria could do was traded baskets with Stayton as the athleticism of the Eagles continued to keep Stayton out in front comfortably for the reminder of the game for the 39-20 victory. The win itself, tenth of the season and their ninth in a row, puts the Eagles sixth in 4A and a tie for the Oregon West Conference for the best record entering league with the upstart Yamhill-Carlton team at 10-3 overall.
Speaking of league, all six of the OWC teams are ranked between sixth, where Stayton currently sits, and 17th where Newport sits and no one is worse than 9-4 overall; making for an interesting league season ahead.
With everyone looking to dethrone Cascade from the top, Tuesday is going to signal the start of something great and the Lady Eagles are hungry to get at it.
“It’s really great, we’re hungry, we’ve been hungry and we’re staying hungry with the same intensity that we have every game,” said Martinez as Stayton opens at home versus Philomath Tuesday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald