By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It was only a matter of time before the Kennedy defense and offense found a groove out on the court against a tough Blanchet Catholic team Saturday afternoon.
Early on, it was a 7-1 Cavalier lead as the Trojans had more fouls (five) than they did points (three) by the end of the first quarter.
But surely they’ll mellow out right? They did. They eventually took a 16-14 lead after Clarissa Traeger’s three-pointer and held a 16-15 lead at the half after Ana Coronado’s free throw.
“Everyone started connecting, making the right passes, taking our time with the ball,” said Traeger, who finished with 12 points in the 40-35 win.
Their defense continued to suffocate leading 27-18, holding Blanchet to three third quarter points entering the fourth with the lone Cavs basket a two by Hailey Ostby with 17 seconds left in the quarter before Kennedy pushing their lead to ten in the final eight of the quarter.
Blanchet got it to eight in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get closer than eight until Ana Coronado’s three with 27 seconds left to make it a 38-33 game.
Coronado finished with nine in the game as did Ostby.
Phipps scored to make it a three-point game with 11 seconds left, 38-35 as the group of seven seniors weren’t going down without a fight.
“It’s always tough playing that third day especially when we don’t have a lot of subs, we’re not a super deep team,” said Phipps who finished with 10 in the game. “So its hard, but it’s fun in those game situations. You try to win the game, the game I feel like we had if we had a few more minutes but we made it a game.”
And the small bench of the Cavaliers this season, it’s a good test for if they reach Coos Bay in March for those three grueling days out on the coast.
“It’s really good practice because as coach always says, it’s just like that in Coos Bay. You have three games in three days, so it’s really good practice for then,” said Phipps.
Blanchet had to resort to fouling to get the ball back as Hailey Arritola knocked down both free throws to ice the 40-35 win.
“I think we just really played as a team, we played good,” said Arritola, who finished with three points, on keeping their composure as Blanchet rallied. “I think beating them, it gives us a little more confidence but we still need to be humble. So it gives us confidence that, yeah we can keep going and beat that team we lost too.”
That team was Oakland Arritola was talking about as they’ll face another tough challenge in Culver Monday at home.