By Jeremy McDonald
AMITY, Ore.– A win against Santiam Christian would have meant a lot for Amity in a few ways: They’ll get to face rival Dayton for the number one seed out of the West Valley League number one. Number two, they’ll qualify for the Field of 16 as one of the Top 2 of 3 seeds that’ll come out of the conference.
Having defeated the Lady Eagles by 12 and 18 this season, it seems as if it’ll be interesting as the game started with the Lady Warriors leading 16-8 after the first quarter.
But, the Amity defense was tough entering the second eight minutes by holding Santiam Christian to just two points in the frame entering the halftime break up 25, 35-10.
Those two points came way of Aliyah Atkins and a lay-up with 1:59 left in the half.
“Oh there’s no words to describe it, we’re all so happy right now,” said Hannah Hatch on how well that defense they had in the opening half as they entered the latter 16 of the game.
The offense, it continued to roll as the defense fed the offense that translated into points as Keeley Graham caught fire in the third quarter with the lead pushed to the 30 point mark entering the fourth quarter up 52-22.
“We were taking what they were giving us, so we would drive and our outside shooters would pop-out and it was just an easy shot and our shots were falling tonight,” said Graham who finished with 14 points. “We just spread the floor and just used our teammates as a whole and we just passed around as a team.”
The final shrunk into a 24 point, 59-35 victory but the feeling is nice in knowing that they’ll have another crack at redemption after how last season ended with a Sweet 16 loss to eventual State Champions Blanchet Catholic 51-29.
And they know their next game can serve as a stepping stone for that redemption here in a few short days.
“Well we always want to beat Dayton, so it’s always a pump-up for that,” said Graham. “So just beating Dayton and just making it to Coos Bay is all we want.”
They’ve had some success against the Lady Pirates this season though Dayton was without one of their star players and Amity was without Graham in the January 8 meeting in Dayton, and the Lady Warriors know it starts with how they approached and played in that game to mix in with Wednesday’s game that could help them stick around again at Central High School Saturday.
“Just get back and play really, really tough defense. Don’t give them any shots, don’t get into any dumb fouls. Just basically have solid defense and teamwork to get baskets and baskets. If we keep hustling, we’ll hopefully beat them.” said Hatch. “All I can say is that we’re going to try our best.”
For some of the seniors on the court, the Kyndra Knuth’s, the Morgan Croxford’s, depending on how they place in the bracket after Saturday’s game, Wednesday could have been their last home game around the home crowd.
But it was nice leaving the gym with a nice win as they now prepare for Dayton at Central High School in Independence at 5pm.
“It was good. It felt good…yeah it just felt good,” laughed Croxford. “It’s sad, but it is what it is, we got it done and we got to stay focused.”
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald