By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– Since the long awaited return of one Halle Wright, Cascade looks like as what is expected of them with the line-up they have with the senior Montana State University-commit.
Of the last 11 games including Wednesday’s home game, Wright has played in 10 of them, all resulting in wins by the final buzzer. The one she didn’t play in, was Newport, a 46-42 defeat as Wright rested her hamstring.
Against the Lady Huskies, who have proved they have battle with the short bench that they have, the Lady Cougars built a 20 point lead on North Marion in both teams final game of the first loop of the Oregon West Conference-play before the Lady Huskies began to chip away at the lead.
“I feel like it was a strong win for us tonight because you know it’s North Marion, I feel like they are the second-best team in our league and it was good just to come out, come out strong and be prepared and give them a taste of what it’s going to be like next time,” said Wright on North Marion.
For the Huskies, who’s four seniors who were on that sixth-place team in 2017, they’ve seen that success of Cascade countless times and they fought to the final whistle and got it to eight in a team who most expect will be in the Final Four if not the game following in March, and they don’t want this year to go to waste after what last season gave them.
“I definitely think that us as seniors, we push the girls like, ‘guys this is our last year come on. We need to get it, we need to go’.We can compete with these teams, to comeback from where we were in the first half with Cascade, I mean comeback and lose by eight that has to show that we have some…as our coach said, have some pride in ourselves and we don’t want to have someone think that we’re not capable of doing the impossible,” starts Hannah Kinniburgh as the final score read 58-50 by the end of the game.
“There’s not a single kid on my team that doesn’t want to go to State,” Kinniburgh continues. “We know our strengths and we know our weaknesses and what we need to push on in practice and we just got to work hard. If we want to make it to State like we did last year, we got to work hard.”
Kinniburgh finished with three points as Ally Umbenhower led all Lady Huskie scorers with 18 points. Mya Hammack had nine and Mar Verastegui added another eight as North Marion (12-7, 2-3 Oregon West Conference) has Thursday before opening up the second half at Newport against a Cubs team that they beat 52-30 to open OWC play on January 16.
That was Newport’s lone loss of the first-loop of play as the Lady Cubs are tied with Cascade at the top of the OWC-Standings at 4-1.
As for the Lady Cougars, who closed out the game in less-than-ideal conditions with North Marion roaring back, it serves as a learning experience for Cascade as they open up the second-half of league on the road versus Yamhill-Carlton.
“I wouldn’t call it a frustrating game, I would call it learning lessons,” said Wright who had a team-high 16 points. “We just got to be prepared, team’s are going to come at us and they’re going to give it their all. So we have to be prepared for that and especially when we’re up 20-something in a game, we can’t let-up because they came back and they were only down by 10.
“So it’s just a learning experience, it’s nothing to be frustrated about…just learning lessons.”
Gracie Rasmussen finished with 14 points and Kelsey Molan added another 12 points in the win that moved the Cougars to 13-5 overall and 4-1 in league.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald