By Jeremy McDonald
HILLSBORO, ORE.– Entering the fourth quarter versus Century, South Salem saw Hilary James go to the line with the Saxons down one to the Jaguars.
In a game in which they had to battle back from a slow start in the opening quarter, James would tie the game, then gave South a 36-35 lead with 6:25 left.
James wasn’t done yet as with the ball loose a few minutes later, the sophomore scooped up a loose ball and the five-six guard went into traffic to lay-in a contested basket and converted the And-One that followed that gave South a 39-37 lead. She then hit a three to make it 42-37 with four to go.
“I was just doing my best to be aggressive, just share the ball and get energy up so we could fight back into this one,” said James, who scored 22 points in the 55-50 loss Friday Night. “Unfortunately, we didn’t pull it out this time but we’re going to keep fighting and we’re going to keep working up to that.”
Century hit two free throws to make it a three-point game with 3:12 left, then the Jags converted free throws after a Saxon turnover to make it a one-point game at 42-41 with 2:52 mark of the fourth quarter.
James contested three missed as Century drove the rebound down the court and Janelle Maligaya was fouled. The senior guard/wing tied it at 42 with 2:03 left.
Maylah Bolden gave her squad a one-point lead on the next possession, having only have hitting the back-end of a double bonus. But their press defense created a steal as James lays it in to hand South a three-point lead entering the final minute of the game.
Century had their chances to possibly force a three-point play by the basket, no luck as the Saxons eventually won the rebounding battle with 28.5 left. The Jaguars got the ball back as Maligaya hit they tying three-ball with three seconds remaining in regulation with South Salem in possession.
“It’s always hard, the first game after Winter Break happens, kids go on Vacation mindsets. I challenge them in beginning of games saying, ‘hey, this is a trap game’,” said Head Coach Adrian Lewis on the game. “First quarter we were super flat, after that I thought our executing was amazing. But we have to make sure that we’re in that mindset because we’re a better team when we’re in that.
“We were flying around making plays, but it was a little too late.”
The in-regulation mid-court shot didn’t fall as the game went to overtime where Century struck first and nabbed the early lead. The Lady Saxons battled, but a Zoe Fry lay-in was waved off because of a charging call on the sophomore.
Delaney Keith brought her team to one with the Jaugars answering back. James was called for a charge herself, knocking the sophomore guard out of the game with fouls. But Madelynn Hoffman hit a monster three to tie it at 50 after Century’s attempt to hold for the last shot backfired on them.
But the Jags would nabbed the lead for good with 42.5 seconds left in the game and iced the win on free throws down the stretch after a late turnover hurt South’s chances of winning the game.
They’ll chalk it up as a good learning experience however as they’ll have a few days off before heading to the Nike Interstate Shootout in Lake Oswego starting on December 26.
“We got to keep working, we got to stay smart and it comes down to those crucial minutes so I think it’s a great learning experience,” said James. “We’ll work hard and hopefully do well at that tournament, so I’m excited.”
Gretchen Olsen finished with 12 points in the game, Victoria Stafford added another five.