FOREST GROVE, Ore.– It was a back-and-forth start to the Championship Semi-Final game between Cascade and North Marion with the Lady Cougars leading 13-9 after one and the Lady Huskies leading 23-20 at the halftime break.
It continued to be a back and forth affair as Mya Hammack giving North Marion a 39-37 lead with under 2:30 left in the game as the Lady Huskies hoped to advance to the State Title game versus Marshfield.
But as did the Lady Cougars as Kirstin Cade got a key stop and set up a Halle Wright lay-in to the the game at 39 with 1:36 left in the game as both North Marion and Cascade’s defense challenged each other for that next go-ahead shot.
Coming out of a timeout, the Lady Cougars milked the clock as North Marion played back but close enough not to foul, and after passing around Kelsey Molan was found on the backside as she took the pass and laid it in for the go-ahead basket with 19.7 left in the game up 41-39.
“It was stressful because sometimes when you hold the ball, we can’t really stall well, we can’t really take care of it but today we did a really good job taking care of the ball,” said Molan who had 15 points in the game. “My coach had enough confidence in me even though I wasn’t making all of my lay-ups, teammate made a good pass and I shot the ball.”
That teammate happened to be Halle Wright that was awarded the assist, one of Wrights’ four assist.
Timeout was called with 10.1 left as the Lady Huskies tried to design one last play for the go ahead three or to force overtime. They come out of the timeout and the inbound pass was tipped by Cade. North Marion ball.
“It was very important but defense is like our game so defense is what we need to do to win so we’re always pretty confident in that,” said Cade who had all four of her rebounds on the defensive side with a block and a steal.
The Huskies got the ball in as Ally Umbenhower drove in and was met by a Cascade defender, she popped it out to Hammack who got a three-point shot off for the win with four seconds remaining.
It bounced off as Wright rebounded it, one of her eight in the game, as the senior let the clock expire and they stormed the court for the 41-39 victory as North Marion, with their hard work to give themselves a chance to win it at the end, shook hands with the Lady Cougars as the pain of defeat was on their faces.
“We battled, we wanted it as much as them and it was one play. It was one play they had that we didn’t get and I hope that the girls next year will come back and they’ll realize this and they’ll know,” starts Hannah Kinniburgh in the hopes that the younger classman will use this as fuel as much as they do.
For the Huskies, it’s for third-place that they can use this frustrations as both them and the Braves drop for the 1:30pm match-up at Forest Grove High School, and for seniors like Kinniburgh, Lindy Wing and Ally Umbenhower, it’ll be the last game they’ll get to play together as a unit.
“Basically the question becomes do we want to do a whole three-spots better than we did last year or just one?,” said Kinniburgh who finished with seven points and seven rebounds in the game. “Last year we took sixth and it sucked so this year we have one goal. We knew what we wanted and we didn’t get it but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a goal still.
“We have the goal to come out play hard and we want third, we don’t want fifth. No one wants fifth.”
For Cascade’s group of seniors, it’s too going to be their last game as they too hope to go out on top with the Title against a tough Lady Pirates squad waiting for them at 3:15 tomorrow afternoon.
The feeling of reach the Title Game again is exciting as the Lady Cougars took turns taking pictures with one another knowing this is where they want to be as they look to close out a good season.
“It feels amazing,” smiled and laugh Molan on going to the big dance. “I feel like this year is our year, our last year and we think we have a chance to take.”
“It’s pretty cool especially as a senior, it’s my last year. We’ve been playing together for years so we’ve been living for this,” adds Cade. “It’s my last time with my best friends, being on the court with them, so regardless of the outcome we’ll be happy.”