By Jeremy McDonald
PALO ALTO, Calif.– It is all the same game in between those four lines of the basketball court, but styles are different.
Team from team, state to state and the pace of the game in California is faster than compared to the one in Oregon. But North Marion found ways to compete against the naturally faster basketball game down in California and playing in the ‘Elite’ division of the tournament was all apart of the plan for Head Coach Trevor Bodine to challenge his team entering the New Year.
“I think that they’re all faster than us, we got to be quicker on our feet and thinking of different ways to make the play happen,” said Paige Martin. “A lot of it was mental. If we can beat these teams, we could almost beat everyone.”
With them pulling away from Eastside College Prep on the first day of the tournament, the Huskies saw their first challenge Friday against Arroyo Grande from the Southern Central Coast-area before Saturday afternoon’s game versus Atherton’s Sacred Heart Prep. Both games gave North Marion an opportunity to work through things from a mental aspect entering their games versus Marshfield and Banks on January 2 and January 8.
“I think mentally we need to get ready for those games and I think these games has helped getting us into the flow because there’s really good competition and I think we need to step it up,” said Mya Hammack, who scored 13 points in Saturday’s game. “We just need to step it up and play our game. We just need to focus and hitting our shots, playing more as a team and play team defense. We kind of lost ourselves out there, if we stepped up then we’ll be able to beat Marshfield of anyone if we play together.”
The Huskies defense held the Gators to 17 first half points in a tight 17-16 game entering the second half before North Marion showed some offense as they built a 29-23 lead after Mar Verastegui’s three-pointer and strong rebounding from Martin and Katie Ensign.
Sacred Heart Prep answered back with a 10-4 run, Martin tied it at 33 all 7:11 left in the game. The Gators regained the lead, Verastegui couldn’t tie the game up with her free throws with Sacred Heart Prep pushing their lead to 41-33 by the 4:16 more.
Raymee Boese got the game back to two-possessions in the post, but North Marion couldn’t muster much on the offensive front to counter the Gators 20-5 fourth quarter advantage in the Eastside College Prep Coaches Versus Cancer third-place game Saturday afternoon in the Bay Area.
“It took a lot out of us and we were really tired, but seeing that speed really helps us going back to Oregon because they’re not use to it either. So if we can speed it up like California did to us, it’ll help us out a lot,” said Martin, who had seven in the 48-36 game Saturday. “Quick passes, moving the ball and just pushing the ball up the court and just really talking will help us.”
Verastegui added eight in the loss as the team heads back up to Oregon with the Lady Pirates coming to town January 2 and the Lady Braves six days later.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald