By Jeremy McDonald
MILL CITY, Ore.– Five spots are promised out of the Tri-River Conference for it’s league playoffs.
Entering Saturday’s games on the girl’s side of the conference, Kennedy sits first at 10-0 with Gervais second at 7-3. Behind them is where the battle currently is.
Colton entered Saturday’s match-up with Santiam at 4-5 and in sixth-place in the conference with the Wolverines 5-4 a game ahead of them in third. The game itself, was treated like a league playoff game with how each team were battling for the win Saturday evening.
“It was tough and all, but we found a way playing our offense and playing the way that we know how to play,” said Cami Duncan who finished with seven points and five rebounds in Santiam’s 49-41 victory.
The Vikings’ 2-3 defense swarmed McKenzie Dodge in the post whenever she got the ball and clogged up the running lanes the Wolverines normally take advantage from them, so Santiam had to slow it down and had to be patient with the ball.
Both squads traded baskets and the lead, it was physical, and fouls were called. Colton built a 40-36 lead after Kaelie Gates basket, but Dodge cut it to three with 4:28 remaining in the game a few seconds after Gates scored.
Dodge missed some time in the second half due to fouls, but the post hit 2-for-2 at the free throw line to bring the Wolverines to one as Duncan would eventually tie the game at 41 off of 2-for-4 shooting at the free throw line over the next two Santiam possessions.
“We had to figure out what we wanted to do and see what was going to work. Then we figured out what we were going to do, we penetrated good and then we got up in the game and we realized that we could do this,” said Shyanne Ward. “It was intense. I mean we want the intensity, we want to win, and I think that’s why we got here. That’s what we wanted to do, we knew we could do it and we got it.”
Ward hit a deep two to hand the Wolverines a 43-41 lead then was fouled on a defensive rebound which she pushed Santiam’s lead to 45-41 with 41 seconds left in the game. Ward finished with 10 points in the win Saturday.
The Wolverines tacked on a few more insurance points in the 49-41 win, but the game itself served as a good reminder of the things they could work on with them traveling to Gervais Monday night.
“I think we need to improve on calming with the ball, but not forcing passes and things like that. Simple things like that which are easy to (fix), I think it’s just kind of a panic mode,” said Duncan. “We go into a panic mode, but for us it’s something we need to do and get over to accomplish because that’s going to help us big for the next couple of games that we have.”
Dodge had a 17-point, 10 rebound double-double for Santiam.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald