By Jeremy McDonald
FOREST GROVE, Ore.– The only team to have defeated Marshfield in the regular season found a way to do it again.
North Marion played the final 5:44 of the game without guard Mar Verastegui, who fouled out with the Huskies holding seemingly a tough eight-point lead with how their defense bounced back from Day 1.
But surely, the Pirates showed why they were the number-one team in State as they began to chip away at the lead.
With 3:46 to play, it was just a 48-44 margin in favor of the Huskies.
Nerves were there, but North Marion resorted to what they knew best:
Over and over and over and over again the Huskies denied Marshfield from scoring with their defense by the hoop. There was that feeling that yesterday’s loss to Newport was a fluke, and certainly it was unorthodox of them against the Cubs.
For Marshfield too, who’s defense was just as tough as North Marion’s, they were showing that their loss to Marist Catholic too was just one of those games with their creation of offensive opportunities starting with their defense.
“We knew that they were going to comeback hard and we knew that we had to comeback harder,” said Katie Ensign. “Like now wasn’t the time to let up, we really wanted to win this.”
The Pirates challenged the Huskies at the line, and with their six free shots North Marion only made one of them. Yes a five-point lead with one of the State’s best defense is good, but not against one of the States primer offenses. Something they need to work on for their Saturday morning game versus Banks.
“We just need to focus. We know how to shoot free throws so we just need to focus and do our routine, chill out a little bit,” said Paige Martin on the free throws.
They had a golden opportunity with about eight seconds remaining in the game to ice the game at the line after Tess Garrett cut the lead to three with 13.4 seconds remaining, but the Huskies missed both and the ensuring scrum for the loose ball gave Marshfield one last crack for overtime with 8.8 seconds left in the game.
The Pirates marches down to be met by the North Marion defense and saw Gracie Brugnoli get a shot off in time before the buzzer. It bounced off the rim towards the Marshfield bench as the buzzer rang on the game.
With the win, the Huskies will have round 3 with Banks Saturday morning at 10:45. The last time these two teams met, the Braves defeated a short-handed North Marion team battling illness on January 8.
Now healthy, it could be a wild finish for fourth-place.
“We just have to play with heart and do what we know what to do and just keep it up,” said Ensign.