FOREST GROVE, Ore.–North Marion knew coming into the Elite 8, the playoffs even, that they were in a groove and already have a quality win over a Top 3 team in Cascade entering their matchup with Hidden Valley of the Grants Pass area.
They jumped out 22-6 and led 34-17 entering the fourth quarter after a quick little spurt late in the third quarter. They knew people outside of their circle doubted them in their ability to come in and upset Hidden Valley, but they knew it. They had faith in each other that they could do it.
“We just knew we had nothing to lose and that’s what we did,” said Hannah Kinniburgh. “We were doubted and we knew that everybody was like, ‘You know, Hidden Valley is going to win. No one has faith in North Marion’.
“But our coaches, our parents…we have faith in each other and it showed. Today showed. Today showed we had faith in each other.”
With under two minutes to play, the student section of North Marion began to chant “Warm the buses!” As excitement began to build knowing what was about to happen up 40-24 with 1:05 left in the game.
You could tell the emotion was there as their hard-work sealed the 40-26 victory over the Mustangs.
“It just really showed, all the hard work we put in this last practices and the strength and all the obstacles we’ve got to get here,” said Kinniburgh, who finished with 11 points and six rebounds and three steals. “This is what we’re here for, this is why we worked hard. This is why we stayed late in the gym, this is what it’s for and that’s the greatest feeling in the world you can ever feel.”
As they wrapped up the game, Ally Umbenhower, absorbed by the raw emotion of the game and seeing the student section toeing the sideline as they wanted to give their girls basketball team high-fives, ran into the crowd out of emotion of the moment.
“It was so fun, we’re at the perfect timing to peak. We haven’t made it to the semis since 1984,” said Umbenhower who too finished with 11 points and six rebounds but had one more steal over her post counterpart in Kinniburgh with four. “So to represent our school and team like this is amazing.”
After being to this point last year, getting to this point was the goal but now that they are here, it’s a whole different animal of emotions as Head Coach Trevor Bodine was caught smiling a few times after the game as they began to handshake Hidden Valley.
“Pretty damn awesome,” said Kinniburgh with a smile on finally reaching this point.
Now it’s on to Cascade. The team they handed their second Oregon West Conference loss this season, their first at full strength. It’s expected that the Lady Cougars want revenge for that February 20 game in Aurora, but for the Lady Huskies, they’re ready for it.
“We’re going to do excatly what we did last time,” “Come out strong, hit our shots, play strong D. They’re a tough team, they’re going to battle against us but there’s nothing we can’t handle.