FOREST GROVE, Ore.– The first-half of the Stayton-Cascade girls game to start the late games at Pacific University was very eerie to those from the last time these two teams met on February 9 at Cascade in a slugfest as Alli Nyquist handed the Lady Eagles a 11-10 lead with 0.6 seconds left entering the halftime break.
To hold the number three team in State to 10 first half points was awesome as their defensive prowess continued into the second half as did the Lady Cougars.
“I was really please with what we were able to do defensively,” said Eagle Head Coach Darren Shryock. “Obviously they were really good defensively as well. Low scoring game but it wasn’t because anyone was holding the ball for 10 minutes, it was two really good teams battling it out.”
Slowly, Cascade began to pull away from the heavyweight match as Riley Bangert pushed their lead to 19-13 before Stayton got it to three entering the fourth and kept it to within two possessions but the Lady Cougars kept it at that with their defense that clamped down on the Eagles to keep them to 18 points in the 22-18 win to advance to the Championship Semi-Finals.
“It felt good to finally get ahead in a close game,” said Cascade’s Riley Bangert “We just had to have good defense and stay in front of them and we just needed to focus more on offense at that point.”
As they await for the winner of North Marion-Hidden Valley, the feeling of just getting back to this point of a game away from the State Title Game is a great feeling though they still have a job to do to get to the big game.
“We just got to be hungry and be ready for the next game,” smiled and laughed Bangert who had five points and two boards in the game as Cascade will tip it off at 3:15pm at Forest Grove High School.
For the Lady Eagles, who are entering their first Elite 8 since 2009, the feeling of this game does suck but it’s just a matter of focusing on the positives as they try to stave off elimination Friday morning at 10:45am at Forest Grove High School.
“We’re going to take all the positives from tonight and bring it into the game tomorrow and do the best we can,” said Alyssa Smart who had three rebounds in the game. “We kept them to a low scoring game, our defense was really good so if we keep a positive mindset I think we can do it tomorrow.”
Halle Wright led the way for Cascade with eight rebounds and 14 rebounds in the win along with two steals while Stayton’s Alli Nyquist had a game-high 10 points as sister KJ Nyquist had a game-high three steals with her six points.