By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– There patience in setting up their offense set up their open shots almost with ease.
The first half against Philomath on Tuesday evening’s start of the second loop through the Oregon West Conference looked opposite to that of the first half of the two squads first meeting in Philomath back on January 4. The game itself even looked different compare to their previous game against Cascade Friday night in Turner.
Of their 28 first half points, Alli Nyquist had 12 of the through the three-ball (four of them) that opened Marri Martinez for nine of her 11 first half points in the second half. All almost coming in the paint as the Lady Eagles built a 28-17 halftime lead on number-six Philomath.
“Patience was really important tonight because last game I feel like we didn’t play like ourselves and it was really key for us to play like the team we’ve been playing the past couple of weeks,” said Alli Nyquist, who finished with 15 points in the game.
But with their winning streak pushed to six now and 12 of their previous 13, their 46-36 win to hand Philomath their first loss since December 14, the Warriors pressured the Eagles and turned the 11-point lead into a four-point lead six minutes into the second half.
Through the pressure of the situation though, Holly McGill’s lone basket of the game with two minutes left in the third quarter seemed to be the smelling salt to help Stayton focus back up to push their lead back to double figures by quarter’s end.
KJ Nyquist’s three before the buzzer, the Juniors second in the game before the quarter break, put the Lady Eagles up 35-24 entering the fourth quarter. Martinez would extend the lead to its peak at 15 points by the midway point of the fourth with the win now forcing a two-way tie for first-place in the Oregon West Conference with five games left in the regular season.
Now with Newport breathing down their necks a game behind them in the league standings when they meet Friday in Newport, it’s going to be just as important to come out as strongly there as they did Tuesday night in Stayton.
“The last time we played them, we weren’t mentally there. This time we’re ready, we’ve been practicing,” said Martinez, who finished with 17 points in the win Tuesday. “We’re going to have a really good week of practice, two really good games. I think we’re ready, we’re going to do what we know we’re going to do this time.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald